DuPont puts mine near Okefenokee Swamp on hold
Company hopes to change opponents' minds
April 11, 1997
Web posted at: 11:27 p.m. EDT (0327 GMT)
ATLANTA (CNN) -- The DuPont Company said Friday it would
suspend plans for a titanium dioxide mine bordering the
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in south Georgia, pending
the results of "an ongoing dialogue" with conservationists
and government officials who oppose it.
The company was "surprised and disappointed" by opposition to
the mining plan on 38,000 acres of land along the eastern
border of the Refuge, said DuPont Vice President Ellen
Critics argued that the strip-mining operation could
irreparably damage the Okefenokee's water supply, while
DuPont said it has safely operated similar mines in other
Titanium dioxide is used as a whitening agent for a wide
variety of products ranging from paper and paint to
toothpaste and Oreo Cookie filling.
Opposition to the project mounted last week when U.S.
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt visited the Okefenokee and
the proposed mine site. Afterward, Babbitt asked DuPont to
abandon the site.
Company still hopes to change opponents' minds
Georgia Gov. Zell Miller also announced his opposition, while
some local leaders voiced support for the roughly 150 jobs
the mine would create.
Kullman said the company would assemble a team of "key
stakeholders" from government, environmental groups and
communities neighboring the mine site to consult on DuPont's
plan. She did not say, however, that DuPont would abandon
the idea if faced with further opposition.
"We hope today's decision will ultimately lead to no mining,"
said Jerry McCollum, president of the Georgia Wildlife
Other environmentalists doubted that DuPont would walk away
from the site.
"We'll be a part of the collaborative process, but our
position won't change," said Sierra Club spokesman Josh
Marks. "The Okefenokee is the worst possible place to put a
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