ATLANTA -- The Alabama company looking to open a titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp is being confronted with an additional hurdle.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reversed an earlier approval of the project and now will require Twin Pines Minerals to reapply for a federal permit. The company already is seeking permits from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

In a memorandum issued late last week, Michael Connor, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, wrote that Twin Pines has not properly consulted the Muscogee Creek Nation despite their request for such a consultation.

The mine’s opponents, who argue the project would threaten the hydrology of the largest blackwater swamp in North America, applauded the Corps’ decision.

"Thanks to everyone who has supported the Okefenokee Swamp and the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers during this long permitting process," said John Quarterman, executive director of the Hahira-based environmental advocacy group Suwannee Riverkeeper. "Special thanks to the Valdosta mayor and council for their resolution of Sept. 11, 2021, supporting the swamp and opposing the mine. This recent decision was one of the requests of that resolution."

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., who visited the swamp last year, has lobbied the Corps and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop the mine.

“The Okefenokee is a sacred natural resource,” Ossoff said. “It is a wildlife resource that must be protected.”

Twin Pines officials have indicated they plan to continue pursuing the project despite the Corps’ decision.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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