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Commissioners deny mining request

The McDuffie County Board of Commissioners voted to deny a request submitted by Advanced Primary Minerals to mine kaolin in the Margaret's Road area, about a mile east of the Thomson city limit.

The issue was decided by a roll call vote. Commissioners Fred Favors, Sammie Wilson Sr., Bill Jopling and Paul McCorkle all voted to deny the application for a conditional use permit.

Chairman Charlie Newton was the only board member who voted to approve the request.

The board made its decision after hearing from speakers both for and against the application.

Every seat was filled. Residents lined the walls of the room, while others spilled into the hallway.

The opposition spoke first, offering a petition for denial that held 691 signatures.

Speaking on behalf of APM, Mark Davies presented ways the company would accommodate residents. The measures had been added since the meeting Oct. 4.

Newton suggested giving the company a one-year test period, at the end of which the board would review APM's impact.

"The company should be allowed to prove themselves," he said.

The rest of the board said the bad outweighed the good.

"There are some things money can't buy, like trees to breathe fresh air," Favors said.

Jopling noted the many residents who had fought against the mine.

"I represent the people who are here," he said. "The will of the people is what I stand for."

Web posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011

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