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Author Topic: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp  (Read 821 times)

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Offline Okefenokee_D

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Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« on: August 04, 2019, 03:49:47 PM »
Hope I posted correctly moderators.

First and foremost this is not a politically motivated topic, but more of an environmental protection that we all should hold dear since we all manage forestry and love the woods.

The issue is that Twin Peak mining company based out of Alabama has proposed a mining Operation less than 2 miles from the Okefenokee Swamp boundary. The mining area will also affect wetlands where the mining company plans to mine. As we all know, mining operations can bring up toxic chemicals and mix with our ground water. Once done..the impacts to the area can not be changed. 

But the other thing is, I and many others understand mining is needed to provide other resources. The issue with this proposed area is that it is too close to a very important ecosystem we have in North America.

The Okefenokee Swamp is one of the largest Blackwater swamps still left intact in the WORLD.

The most remotest place in the State of Georgia lays within the Okefenokee Swamp...so you can escape from the outside world.

The Okefenokee Swamp brings in $64.7 million in Revenue each year due to visitors, etc from around the world and it also employees many people with $17.2 million in income which also goes into the surrounding communities. It also brings in $5.4 million for tax revenue for the counties it is in

Many species are protected in this area and the area where the proposed mining Operation will be done at holds many protected species like the Gopher tortoise.


The mining will be done on Trail Ridge which is a narrow strip that DuPont tried to mine back in the 1980s or so, but locals and politicians stopped it. The Trail Ridge is a very sandy ridge and basically is a dam for the Okefenokee Swamp.

The mining operation will go deeper than the swamp which could easily create an issue of draining the swamp just like the Suwanee Canal Company tried to do in the 1800s.

If drained...the swamp will lose its ecosystem and create more dangers of wildfire for the area.

I know people will worry about jobs, but jobs can be made elsewhere, but our water is a resource and animal/plant species that can't be replace


If you are wanting to voice your opinion against this..please contact via mail "Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Attention: Ms. Holly Ross, 1104 North Westover Boulevard, Albany GA 31707 OR by email holly.a.ross@usace.army.mil no later than 30 days from the date of this notice (which it has been posted since mid July so the end date is mid August)

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2019, 04:18:00 PM »
   What are they proposing to mine? Phosphates or limestone or what?

    As I remember when they tried to drain the swamp, I guess this was the 1880's project you mention, they started around Folkston GA and once they opened the canal they discovered the height of the water on the other side was higher than the level of the swamp and they flooded it instead of draining it. Miraculous engineering at work if I do say so myself.
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2019, 05:27:08 PM »
I live in the center of a very large wet land area.
Folks seem to forget that wetlands filter the water better than most anything. 
I have more wildlife around because of the bounty of the wetlands
What would they be mining for ?
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Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2019, 05:59:34 PM »
Mineral sand-derived products, particularly those containing titanium dioxide and zirconium 

Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2019, 06:01:30 PM »
  What are they proposing to mine? Phosphates or limestone or what?

    As I remember when they tried to drain the swamp, I guess this was the 1880's project you mention, they started around Folkston GA and once they opened the canal they discovered the height of the water on the other side was higher than the level of the swamp and they flooded it instead of draining it. Miraculous engineering at work if I do say so myself.
They were trying to drain it, but their money ran out pretty much.

Offline btulloh

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2019, 06:06:07 PM »
It's easier to drain a bank account than to drain a swamp.

Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2019, 06:09:50 PM »
It's easier to drain a bank account than to drain a swamp.
They found that out the hard way. Lol.
The mining company says their operation is more "environmentally friendly", but all the mining I see really isn't. It changes the land.
They said they could separate the soil and get the specifics they want and put the rest back and then cover with top soil.
But the issue with that is...its sandy and wet as crap around St.George and Moniac.
The water table for water bearing sand is around 30-40 foot and they want to go 25-50 foot with the mining.
It is a catastrophe waiting to happen if they do it.

Offline btulloh

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2019, 06:30:52 PM »
Sounds like trouble of unknown magnitude

Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2019, 06:34:59 PM »
Sounds like trouble of unknown magnitude
Hopefully the people in the area today won't sell out our resource and beautiful ecosystem just for a few jobs that wont last but "possibly 30 years".

Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2019, 07:00:31 PM »
Follow the money and what the company is doing as far as  contributions to political  contests, tax incentives etc.  This will tell you if it is for certain.  In Miss. the road is littered with boondoggle  billion dollar economic busts.  
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Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2019, 08:57:41 PM »
Follow the money and what the company is doing as far as  contributions to political  contests, tax incentives etc.  This will tell you if it is for certain.  In Miss. the road is littered with boondoggle  billion dollar economic busts.  
I am hoping Kemp sees this as something that doesn't need to happen. 
We will see. If anyone wants to voice their opinion then please email the Ms.Holly with the email I provided.
Thanks!

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2019, 09:04:36 PM »
   Sounds like a gravel pumping operation with the contents separated by various types. Where I grew up in N. Fla there was and still is a big sand and gravel pumping operation. I grew up fishing, swimming, gigging frogs and hunting around the old borrow pits left behind. Now they have been designated into parks with a few improvements like picnic areas, boat ramps, etc. 

   I'd suggest keep an eye on their operations and make sure they comply with the applicable safety and environmental regs but I would not dismiss them out of hand any more than I would a timber company buying and harvesting timber resources. JMHO.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2019, 10:45:37 PM »
It's a hard position.  The owners of the land bought it, the land is not part of a protected system, and there are regulations in place for the proposed activity.  I get the proximity issue, but like WV said, what would be different about a timber land holder in the same proximity to a protected resource legally harvesting their timber?  Shut down all natural resource harvest and land values plummet, the economy tanks, and future attempts to protect resources are met with massive resistance.  

Just this past week there was an article on a guy in Colorado who was going to sell his restaurant that he had run for decades - the building was built in 1967, but some locals don't want to see the development which will replace the building so they are pushing the city to zone it as a historical landmark - basically taking the value of the land away from the owner - and the city is moving ahead with it.  When did something from 1967 become historical?  The NIMBY's are not your friends.  
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Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2019, 12:53:57 AM »
  Sounds like a gravel pumping operation with the contents separated by various types. Where I grew up in N. Fla there was and still is a big sand and gravel pumping operation. I grew up fishing, swimming, gigging frogs and hunting around the old borrow pits left behind. Now they have been designated into parks with a few improvements like picnic areas, boat ramps, etc.

   I'd suggest keep an eye on their operations and make sure they comply with the applicable safety and environmental regs but I would not dismiss them out of hand any more than I would a timber company buying and harvesting timber resources. JMHO.
Yeah, they have a mine in Starke, Fl but the issue is it just is too close to an untouched ecosystem (well one that hasnt been bothered with for over 80 years). One screw up it all it takes to forever ruin it.
If it wasnt so close to it..I wouldnt have a problem with it personally.
But the timber harvesting generally doesnt mess with the water table as a mine would either. Unless you are talking about how timber companies used to drain the land to plant more pines?

Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2019, 12:56:51 AM »
It's a hard position.  The owners of the land bought it, the land is not part of a protected system, and there are regulations in place for the proposed activity.  I get the proximity issue, but like WV said, what would be different about a timber land holder in the same proximity to a protected resource legally harvesting their timber?  Shut down all natural resource harvest and land values plummet, the economy tanks, and future attempts to protect resources are met with massive resistance.  

Just this past week there was an article on a guy in Colorado who was going to sell his restaurant that he had run for decades - the building was built in 1967, but some locals don't want to see the development which will replace the building so they are pushing the city to zone it as a historical landmark - basically taking the value of the land away from the owner - and the city is moving ahead with it.  When did something from 1967 become historical?  The NIMBY's are not your friends.  
Generally, a logging operation will not do as much harm as a mining operation will.
We had the West Mims wildfire and acres and acres of timber were burned up and logged out.

Our agency foresters watch logging operations to make sure they are following Best Management Practices.
It's just with the mining...one screw up can be detrimental to the region forever.
If they weren't so close to the swamp then I wouldn't have no issue with it personally as long as they keep wetlands secured and water protected.

Offline barbender

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2019, 07:59:31 AM »
We have a big mine trying to start up over on the edge of the Boundary Waters. I think there are a lot of legitimate concerns with this mining operation, but it can be really hard to sort out what the facts are when you get the shrill voices on both sides going.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2019, 09:03:26 AM »
    What do the people around Starke think of the company and their operations there? I'd check their rep on existing projects. Also if the operation is similar to the ones where I grew up it should have little if any impact on the water table. As I remember they put a big pump out in a pit full of water and start pumping and straining out the contents and the water went back where it came from. As the pit got deeper the sand and gravel basically caved in around the edges and was pumped plus the pump was on floats (We always called them gravel boats) and they could be moved around the pit but the water always went back into the pit and not to any outside source. 

    Knowing the terrain I'd be less worried about the impact on the swamp. Its not like mountain mining where the runoff runs down a stream and pollutes everything downstream.

    I made a field trip to the Folkston entrance of the swamp when I was a student at AU and we went out with a professor on a botany class who educated us on the swamp. A few years later after I got married I took my new bride out on a canoe trip there down the Suannee River canal. I love the swamp and its unique features. I grew up fishing  and swimming on the Suannee River downstream where my grandparents in Dixie County lived and it was one of the cleanest rivers I have seen but I am not convinced the operation described here will do anything but help the economy and possibly return some nice fishing/recreational lakes out of the borrow pits when everything is done.
Howard Green
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Offline Okefenokee_D

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2019, 10:08:42 AM »
   What do the people around Starke think of the company and their operations there? I'd check their rep on existing projects. Also if the operation is similar to the ones where I grew up it should have little if any impact on the water table. As I remember they put a big pump out in a pit full of water and start pumping and straining out the contents and the water went back where it came from. As the pit got deeper the sand and gravel basically caved in around the edges and was pumped plus the pump was on floats (We always called them gravel boats) and they could be moved around the pit but the water always went back into the pit and not to any outside source.

    Knowing the terrain I'd be less worried about the impact on the swamp. Its not like mountain mining where the runoff runs down a stream and pollutes everything downstream.

    I made a field trip to the Folkston entrance of the swamp when I was a student at AU and we went out with a professor on a botany class who educated us on the swamp. A few years later after I got married I took my new bride out on a canoe trip there down the Suannee River canal. I love the swamp and its unique features. I grew up fishing  and swimming on the Suannee River downstream where my grandparents in Dixie County lived and it was one of the cleanest rivers I have seen but I am not convinced the operation described here will do anything but help the economy and possibly retyurn some nice fishing/recreational lakes out of the borrow pits when everything is done.
Starke doesn't have the Okefenokee next to it for one.
In the local paper it mentions about the mining and one person stated, "During Hurricane Irma, the only pollution spills in the Suwannee River Basin where three Chemours mines on Trail Ridge in Baker and Bradford counties. Do we want to risk that on Trail Ridge in Charlton county where downhill is either Okefenokee Refuge or the St. Mary's River?."

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2019, 11:29:25 AM »
    No, the Okefenokee Swamp is not next to Starke but if this is the same company you can evaluate how well they comply with the applicable regulations .

     You are right to be concerned so I would make sure you address your concerns and make sure the company addresses them to a reasonable satisfaction. During the mining does the company introduce any new products into the environment that was not there before (Like adding Mercury during gold mining and such) or do they just return what was already there in the soil and water?

   The sand and gravel operations where I grew up did not introduce anything new to the environment. They just pumped up what was there, kept the product that was useful and marketable and returned the rest to original location. They did change what was formerly a hardwood lowland forest into into shallow (6-10 ft depths for the most part) lakes. The squirrel, deer and turkey hunters might have been displeased but the duck hunters, fishermen and swimmers were happier. The area gets more use by a much wider group of people now than in its original condition.

    Flooding concerns? Very valid. Where I grew up every few years the nearby Escambia River still overflows its banks and the gravel pits I have talked about merge with the river just like the various oxbows along the river. It had always flooded only now it just temporarily raises the water level in the lakes instead of covering formerly dry ground. To the best of my knowledge no new or harmful contaminants were/are introduced during the process.

    We all tend to hate change but change is not always a bad thing. The swamp itself changes - the lakes dry up turning into more peat. Fire occurs during naturally through lightening a dry season and burns the peat which fill back up and become lakes again. That has been the process for thousands of years. The Suannee River Canal is likely the biggest change in the last century or so and even that has allowed more access for visitors to see and enjoy and hopefully appreciate the unique ecosystem that it is.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Sixacresand

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Re: Proposed mining operation by Okefenokee Swamp
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2019, 05:14:02 PM »
I would not worry about mining pollution today.  I assume the swamp mining is a titanium type operation.  What they pump back into the creek is probably in the aquifer drinking water anyway.  When they are done and twenty years later you would never know it was ever mined.  The worst of the strip miners of the last century are dead and gone.  I would like to say the mining community regulate themselves, but I know they still need be prodded by the government environmental agencies.   JMO
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