Twin Pines Minerals withdraws application to strip-mine near Okefenokee 2020-02-07

They could resubmit at any time. But for now, the Alabama mining company that is already under a Florida Consent Order along with Chemours for four mines in north Florida, Twin Pines Minerals (TPM) has withdrawn its application to mine in Georgia near the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers.

[Tribal Grounds west along GA 94 to TPM equipment, 12:38:38, 30.5257540, -82.0411100]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for, Tribal Grounds west along GA 94 to TPM equipment, 12:38:38, 30.5257540, -82.0411100, on Southwings flight for Suwannee Riverkeeper, pilot Allen Nodorft, 2019-10-05.

Nedra Rhone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 7, 2020, BREAKING: Mining company withdraws permit application for project near Okefenokee,

Twin Pines Minerals, the Alabama-based company that hopes to mine acres of land near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, has withdrawn its permit application, said Billy E. Birdwell, spokesman of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Savannah district.

map, location, proposed mine site near Okefenokee Swamp
Map: TPM proposed mine site next to Okefenokee Swamp, by Georgia Conservancy, via AJC.

The company filed notice with regulators late Friday but could resubmit the application at any time with new information, Birdwell said.

“As part of the permitting process, it is not unusual for an applicant to withdraw a permit. It doesn’t happen every day or week but it happens often enough that we consider it a routine action,” he said. “When that happens, we stop what we are doing. The applicant has every right to come back later and resubmit new information to work on or pick up where they left off.”

TPM had just published its long-awaited hydrology study, which even though it is 91 pages long, is very narrowly focused on just the site TPM proposes to mine immediately, not the much larger area to the north, ever-closer to the Swamp, that TPM would expand mining into if it ever got started.

Twin Pines said the findings, when presented to peers at the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama, were “well-received.” But Todd Rasmussen, Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Georgia who reviewed the study and shared it with other modelers, said some of the prediction methods used in the study created large uncertainties in the data.

“The general consensus is that a rigorous review is needed. But from first impressions, there are many components that are unclear, incomplete, or lacking,” Rasmussen said. “While the final result may be that there is no impact, the provided report does not provide clear and convincing evidence to that effect.”

This is the same Todd Rasmussen of the vertical hydrology study of the Okefenokee Swamp WWALS cited in our September 2019 comments to the Corps against the mine.

Thanks to WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter for finding that study last fall.

So the miners may resubmit, but for now, they have withdrawn their application.

For now, the many organizations and individuals against the strip mine have won!

[Organizations For Okefenokee Swamp, Against Titanium Mine]
Organizations For Okefenokee Swamp, Against Titanium Mine

Far more about this bad strip-mining plot against the Suwannee River headwaters in the Okefenokee Swamp is on the WWALS website:

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

2 thoughts on “Twin Pines Minerals withdraws application to strip-mine near Okefenokee 2020-02-07

  1. Teresa Brown

    THRILLED! I wrote a letter to the Corps of Engineers, the Georgia Nature Conservancy (I am a 30+ year member) to argue against this project. Glad to see that University of Georgia Hydrology and Waters professor Todd Rasmussen finds the Twin Pine’s company’s application to mine adjacent to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge does not adequately produce evidence their efforts to commence commercial mining will not damage the this significant refuge.

    1. jsq Post author

      Yes, this withdrawal is good, and we should celebrate.
      Just don’t be surprised when the miners submit for a new permit. -jsq

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