Mining on Trail Ridge

St. Marys Riverkeeper summary of public comments is available now, as well as the full comments that were submitted to the Georgia EPD. 

On January 19, 2023, Georgia Environmental Protection Division opened a 60-day public comment period seeking YOUR input on whether or not the state should issue a permit for a proposed heavy mineral sand mine on Trail Ridge – 3 miles from the Okefenokee Swamp and 5 miles from the St. Marys River. 

Public comment for the Mining Land Use Plan (MLUP) closed Monday March 20 at 4:30p. 

St. Marys Riverkeeper was joined in the opposition of this mine as presented to GA EPD by fellow waterkeepers in Florida and Georgia. Read Waterkeepers Florida’s TPM Letter (WKFL) and Riverkeepers of Georgia TPM Letter (WKGA).

PRESS RELEASE – St. Marys Riverkeeper Opposes Mining Permit

Watch our Lunch and Learn webinar series “For Our River” to learn more about the potential impacts this mining project may have on our St. Marys River watershed. 

Twin Pines Minerals is an Alabama-based company looking to mine along Trail Ridge, at the headwaters for River Styx (flows to the Okefenokee Swamp) and Boone Creek (flows to the St. Marys River). Mining along Trail Ridge could compromise the habitat the Swamp and the St. Marys River offers to endangered species like the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Wood Storks, Eastern Indigo Snakes, and the Atlantic Sturgeon.

A new federal regulation called the Navigable Waters Protection Rule went into effect June 22, 2020. The rule changed the way wetlands are defined in the Clean Water Act so that federal permits and environmental impact statements will no longer be needed before building near certain waterways. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ruled that because of this change, it lacked jurisdiction over 376 acres of land within the proposed mining site, so Twin Pines can proceed if the Georgia Environmental Protection Division approves five permits.

Parts of the refuge’s Trail Ridge are rich in titanium and other heavy minerals. In the past, attempts to mine there have failed due to concerns about the Okefenokee. Titanium is a strong, lightweight mineral used to build everything from missiles and jet planes to orthopedics and consumer electronics. The Georgia mine will use the titanium to make pigments that whiten cosmetics, paint and other consumer products.

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