Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) is cited in a consent order on Chemours mines, for failure to collect data, spilling waste through silt fences and not cleaning it up, and being out of compliance on numerous counts, including radium and iron, in the Suwannee, St. Johns, and St. Mary’s River basins in Florida.
This is the same TPM that has applied to mine titanium in Charlton County, Georgia, near the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers.
You can read the Consent Order yourself:
See also the Warning Letter of a year before. That warning seems severe and specific enough that one might have thought Chemours and Twin Pines would have fixed the problems, but apparently enough problems were left a year later fpr FDEP to issue a Consent Order. For example:
Deficiency: Common findings observed during inspection of mining facilities:
- No sludge management plan developed for humate (Maxville and North Maxville).
- Site plan does not identify/provide maintenance and inspection procedures for BMP. other than ponds.
- Site plan has not been updated since it was implemented 2013.
- Site plan does not provide details on evaluating accumulated water in secondary containment structures prior to discharging.
- Total Radium 226/Radium 228 at outfall D002 was not reported the 1* Qtr 2017 as required by permit (Maxville).
- Toxicity results were not provided at outfall D002 for 3“ Qtr (Maxville).
- The lime treatment ponds associated with the long-term ponds and caustic pond are not included on the daily shift check sheet at Maxville.
- No written documentation of which outfalls at North Maxville are constructed, inactive or active.
- Inspection frequency of inactive ponds at North Maxville does not appear to be adequate.
- Twin Pines area needs to be added to IW permit — to include monitoring & inspecting requirements.
Apparently Twin Pines still wasn’t even added to the permit a year later, since that’s still a subject of the Consent Order.
Nonetheless, the Consent Order says “Twin Pines is currently included in the Trailridge permit by reference.” That’s the mine nearest Starke, so it’s a good guess that TrailRidge Mine is where TPM means when it tells people it wants to send ore from Charlton County to Starke.
Do we really need a line of mines all along Trail Ridge, with the TPM Charlton County mine in the middle, much closer to the Okefenokee Swamp than all the rest?
The northernmost mine marked on that map, north of Folkston on Winokur Road, is Mission Mine South, of Southern Ionics. Chemours this month acquired the Mining Operations of Southern Ionics Minerals. So now it’s Chemours mines in a line up and down Trail Ridge, with TPM proposing to mine in the middle and ship its ore to “Starke,” apparently meaning the Chemours Trailridge Mine southeast of Starke, in Bradford County, Florida.
Seems like there’s enough mining already without risking the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, and sending more ore to a site in Bradford County that’s already under a Consent Order.
Help Suwannee Riverkeeper save the Okefenokee Swamp
You can object to a titanium strip mine proposed far too near the Swamp.
You can write to your Georgia state representative or senator or governor or lieutenant governor and ask them to refuse any such instrument.
Here's a convenient comment form by Georgia Water Coalition:
Or to find your legislator you can type in your ZIP code here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
These are the Georgia state Senators with districts most involved with the Okefenokee Swamp:
- District 003 Senator Sheila McNeil (R-Brunswick) (Brantley County), (404) 656-9644, 912.464.1989, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com With the new redistricting, District 3 will include all of Charlton County, including the mine site.
- District 008, Senator Russ Goodman (R-Lake Park) (Lowndes, Lanier, Echols, Clinch, Cook, Brooks, and Thomas Counties), (404) 656-7454, 912-218-0447, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com With the new redistricting, Senate District 8 no longer will include any of Charlton County, so not the mine site, but it will include the south and west parts of Ware County, so the Okefenokee Swamp west of the mine site.
- District 007 Senator Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla) (Tift, Berrien, Irwin, Ben Hill, Coffee, Bacon, Atkinson, Ware, and Charlton Counties), (404) 463-5263, firstname.lastname@example.org. His district includes the Okefenokee Swamp, and he is the Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee. With the new redistricting, Senate District 7 goes away entirely, being absorbed by District 8 and District 3.
These are the Georgia state Representatives with districts most involved:
- 174, John Corbett, R - Lake Park, 404-656-0213, email@example.com. District 174 district includes the mine site. With the new redistricting, it will also include the rest of Charlton County.
- 180, Steven Sainz, R - Woodbine, 404.656.0177, firstname.lastname@example.org, Charlton and Ware Counties. With the new redistricting, District 180 will not include any of Charlton County; only Camden County and a bit of Glynn County.
- 176, James Burchett, R - Waycross, 404.656.0188, email@example.com, Lowndes, Lanier, Atkinson, and Ware Counties. With the new redistricting, also a bit of Coffee County.
- 177, Dexter Sharper, D - Valdosta, 404.656.0126, firstname.lastname@example.org, Lowndes County. Valdosta is the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida.
You can also write to your U.S. Representative or Senator and ask them to urge the Corps to take back up its oversight of the mine site. See former letter from Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05).
For the requested Georgia state permit regarding Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, you can send a comment or request for public hearing to
Stephen Wiedl, Wetlands Unit, email@example.com
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, Water Protection Branch, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.
Be sure to mention Applicant: Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, Application Number: SAS-2018-00554.
For the Georgia Coastal Management Program certification, you can send a comment to
Federal Consistency Coordinator, Ecological Services Section, Coastal Resources Division,
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, One Conservation Way, Brunswick, Georgia 31523-9600
You can also write to the Georgia DNR board, asking them to refuse any such instrument.
Georgia Board of Natural Resources
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SE, Suite 1252, Atlanta, GA 30334
To submit a letter to the editor of the Charlton County Herald,
you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or write to your local newspaper.
You can also contact radio, TV, and of course post on social media.
Upcoming in August 2019 are two Public Meetings by Twin Pines Minerals (these are not public hearings; no decision-making government body is involved in organizing these miners' meetings):
PM, Tuesday, August 13, Auditorium, 68 Kingsland Drive, Folkston, GA,
Come early at 4PM. Bring pictures of people with animals and plants or bring a sign if you can.
5:30-8:30 PM, Wednesday, August 14, Fire Station Number 2, 13063
Florida Avenue, St. George, GA.
Come early at 4PM. Bring pictures of people with animals and plants or bring a sign if you can.
This one is a decision-making governmental body:
6PM, Thursday, August 15,
Charlton County Commission, 68 Kingsland Drive, Folkston, GA.
They have already drafted a resolution in support of the mine.
Local people especially, please come say you don't want that,
or at least ask the county to insist on an Environmental Impact Statement first.
No demonstration outside, please; just come in, politely listen, and speak.
Suggestion from St. Mary's Earthkeepers, plus Suwannee:
Feel free to use the following “talking points” in your email:
- The Okefenokee Swamp/National Wildlife Refuge/Wilderness is NOT a suitable location for a titanium mine. The Swamp is considered one of the "Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia", is the largest blackwater swamp in North America, and has been designated a National Natural Landmark.
- The health of the St. Marys and Suwannee Rivers depends on the integrity of the Okefenokee Swamp, myriad species rely on its wellbeing, and tourism in the area is an economic boon to our region.
- The Twin Pines mining project presents unnecessary and unacceptable risks, and I urge the Charlton County Commissioners to oppose this project unless and until a thorough Environmental Impact study shows that no harm will be done to the Swamp, its tributaries, rivers, and future. I am joined in my concern by the Georgia Conservancy, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Suwannee Riverkeeper, and over 20 other regional and national environmental organizations.
From the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
“We have concerns that the proposed project poses substantial risks for significant affect to the environment. Should impacts occur they may not be able to be reversed, repaired, or mitigated for."
"Titanium is a common mineral, while the Okefenokee is a very uncommon swamp."
"This will likely change its properties and the hydrology of the area."
Please email the following people and ask that your message be shared with all Commissioners.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR, HAMPTON RAULERSON
County Clerk, Jennifer Nobles
Chairman James E. Everett
For more more about the mining application near the Okefenokee, see: https://wwals.net/pictures/2019-07-12–tpm-usace/
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!