Mining Proposed Near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
An Alabama company wants to mine for heavy minerals near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Georgia.
The proposal from Twin Pines Minerals called for mining on more than 2,414 acres of land in Charlton County. The land is home to gopher tortoises and frogs, which are endangered, but Twin Pines said it'll move them.
The application from the company said about 522 acres of wetland could be temporarily impacted as the company would have to dig and excavate for draglines. Officials have said they would put dirt back and replant if their proposal gets approved.
Another 65 acres could be permanently destroyed as new structures would be built on the wetlands.
But Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman said the actual impact could be greater.
"The most obvious thing that we really need is a real environmental impact statement," Quarterman said. "All we have so far is, 'this is what the applicant said.'"
Quarterman was concerned about runoff from the mining, wildlife habitats, and the effects on waterflow underground.
The Army Corps of Engineers is taking public comment on the proposal until until August 13.