Public hearing set for mine expansion

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015

PotashCorp-Aurora is asking the state to expand its mining permit to mine a tract of land off of Bonnerton Road in Aurora. Those who would like to speak up on the subject can do so at a public meeting tonight in Washington.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Division of Land Resources will hold the meeting at the Beaufort County Administrative Office at 7 p.m.

In 2009, PotashCorp received wetland state water quality permits that include the proposed Bonnerton mining area.

“As outlined in the permits, we now must incorporate this next permitted area into our existing state mining permit. In other words, it’s part of the process,” said Ray McKeithan, manager of public relations at PotashCorp-Aurora. “The area will eventually become a wildlife habitat, we consider mining a temporary land use.”

McKeithan said no water will be discharged from the mining area into area creeks.

According to a letter from assistant state mining specialist Judith A. Wehner, the Division of Land Resources has received “considerable correspondence” related to the mining permit application and, because of that, DENR decided a public hearing is warranted.

The public hearing announcement states that comments will be limited to seven denial criteria, including adverse effects on ground water, wildlife or fisheries, air quality, public health and safety of buildings and roads. Wehner noted that the Mining Act of 1971, in which the criteria was set, “does not have jurisdiction over offsite truck traffic, noise and potential impacts to property values.”

McKeithan said PotashCorp has notified landowners in the area of the modification of the permit.

The full permit application can be found on the DENR’s website at portal.ncdenr/web/lr/mining. The Beaufort County Administrative Office is located at 121 W. Third St., Washington.