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PCS Phosphate mulls smaller mine boundary

By Staff
Corps of Engineers instructs company to rethink proposal
By NIKIE MAYO
News Editor
PCS Phosphate is evaluating a smaller area than it first sought to continue mining operations in Aurora, and it is doing so at the behest of the Army Corps of Engineers, according to the company’s environmental-affairs manager.
The alternative site includes the company’s NCPC tract, the Bonnerton tract and an area south of N.C. Highway 33 in Aurora, Smith said. But the specifics about it, he said, will come when the Corps of Engineers issues its next report.
PCS’ Aurora operation employs about 1,000 workers, about 600 of whom are from Beaufort County, according to company data.
PCS is in the middle of the permitting process, seeking to continue mining just north of its current site. The Corps of Engineers issued a report in October about PCS’ “applicant preferred” site because it would impact 2,400 acres of wetlands. The Corps of Engineers also hosted a public hearing in December to gather input on the proposed site.
Since the public-comment period closed in late January, the Corps of Engineers has been evaluating input received and having discussions with PCS.
Reached Thursday, Schmitt said she had no new information on the permitting process.
Perennial PCS spokesman Mike Gwynn said he expects more information about the alternative plan will be available in a few weeks.