Georgia eyes approval for a controversial titanium mine near Okefenokee Swamp

A titanium mine proposed near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has sparked significant opposition, raising concerns about the impact on North America's largest intact blackwater swamp.

Brady Dennis reports for The Washington Post.


In short:

  • The mine, proposed by Twin Pines Minerals, promises economic benefits but faces opposition from environmentalists, scientists, and the Biden administration, highlighting risks to the Okefenokee Swamp.
  • Public debate intensifies as Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division issues draft permits, with a final decision pending based on public comments.
  • Local communities and environmental advocates emphasize the irreplaceable value of the Okefenokee, citing its unique ecosystem, historical significance, and potential designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Key quote:

"Titanium is a common mineral, while the Okefenokee is a very uncommon swamp.”

— Bruce Babbitt, interior secretary under President Bill Clinton

Why this matters:

It's a familiar debate with passions running high on both sides. Mining proponents tout potential economic benefits and infrastructure improvements in a region badly in need of both, while opponents argue for protections of a unique ecosystem. Defenders of the Okefenokee have been here before as Peter Dykstra points out in this 2020 essay from Environmental Health News.

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