Martin Marietta to host proposed mine meeting

Published 12:35 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. will hold a public meeting Tuesday, Jan. 31, on its plans to operate a rock quarry in Beaufort County, county officials have announced.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the Beaufort County Courthouse in Washington.

County Manager Randell K. Woodruff has said the meeting will be a good opportunity for Beaufort County residents to ask questions about the company’s plans to operate an open-pit mine about seven miles east of U.S. Highway 17 on the border of Craven and Beaufort counties.

In its application, Martin Marietta proposes to mine marine limestone that would then be crushed into rocks of various sizes to be used by the N.C. Department of Transportation in road construction and by others in residential and commercial building projects near New Bern and Washington.

The mine, if the permits for its operation are approved, would be in operation for about 50 years and would be similar to the Clarks Quarry operated by Martin Marietta near New Bern and four other mining operations owned by the company in eastern North Carolina.

In various filings with government agencies on the project, Martin Marietta says the mine is needed to help keep road construction costs down. But the project has raised concerns among local officials and some environmental advocates about its effects on groundwater wells in the area and the fish and fisheries habitat in Blount’s Creek, a tributary of the Pamlico River.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended the period for public comment on the company’s plans until Jan. 18, 2012, corps officials have announced.