Recently, Twin Pines Minerals LLC of Birmingham, Alabama filed a permit to mine titanium dioxide near The Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The Okefenokee Swamp (which is the largest Federal Wildlife Refuge east of the Mississippi River) is no stranger to potential mines. In the 1990’s DuPont Chemical Company attempted to mine this area as well but was rebuked by then Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Babbitt at the time saying, “Titanium is a common mineral, while the Okefenokee is a very uncommon swamp.”
Twin Pines LLC is hoping to mine a portion of the eastern edge of the swamp which is a sandy ridge that serves as habitat for such animals as the threatened indigo snake and gopher tortoise. Officials at the US Fish and Wildlife are unsure if the remediation methods suggested by the mining company will be sufficient enough to restore the area sufficiently enough to provide habitat for those animals again.
The Southeast Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers will be watching this closely. We hope that science will prevail and that the permitting process will be fair and transparent.
Currently the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers it taking comments from the public regarding the application to mine this area. Comments can be emailed to Ms. Holly Ross at [email protected] All comments need to include the applicant’s name as well as the application number which are: Twin Pines Minerals LLC Application number: SAS-2018-00554. The comment period closes September 12, 2019.