Just about straight north of Macclenny, Florida and just west of St. George, Georgia, and very near the Okefenokee Swamp lies a 12,000-acre tract of land owned by Twin Pines Minerals. This is where the company wants to dig 50 feet down, deeper than the swamp bottom.
And once again as in the case of the Chemours/Starke mine, this leaves the Santa Fe vulnerable to the incompetency, poor planing, and accident risk of mining. This includes the lack of judgement and inexcusable actions of the Charlton County Commissioners, who operate isolated in their own small world.
Twin Pines Minerals is based in Birmingham, Alabama, and they are well on the way to begin tearing up the land to acquire titanium. The map above shows the approximate location of the mine area, and the two photos below show the terrain. One of the photos shows the wet areas holding water.
Proposed mine area west of St. George
The dark spots are shadows from the clouds, and the shiny areas are standing water.
The flight plan began in Waycross, then due south then southwest to Fargo, well down into Florida, then north back through Macclenny, the mine area, South Ionic Mine and back to Waycross.
An unexpected treat was flying over the Suwannee River in its early stages of infancy as it emerges from the great swamp, much smaller than far downstream where it is joined by the Santa Fe.
Chemours mine southeast of Macclenny, one of four mines worked by that company.
The very close proximity to the Okefenokee national refuge puts this unique natural treasure at risk. Mine representatives at the Folkston informational meeting gave inadequate answers regarding their environmental intent and concerns.
Flight participants: volunteer SouthWings pilot Allen Nodorft, Augusta, Rena Peck Stricker, Atlanta with Georgia Rivers Network, Mary Landers, eminent environmental reporter with Savannah Morning News, Zach Dennis, photographer Savannah Morning News, with Piper Cherokee six-passenger.
This was your historian’s fifth flight with SouthWings, plus one with Tampa freelancer Ed Golly over Mosaic. Overflight provides a perspective not attained any other way and we very grateful to SouthWings for their special line of environmental work and to their volunteer pilots.
We also thank Suwannee RiverKeeper John Quarterman for including us on this flight, and for his constant monitoring and hard work to care for our environment.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-