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Low-impact technology will extract minerals, boost local economy with new investment

Local mining company Southern Ionics Minerals (SIM) will be creating 100 new jobs in coming months after an agreement reached with Chemours Titanium Technologies to mine a mineral sand deposit in Wayne County.

Twenty of those jobs are expected to be at the company’s mineral separation plant in Offerman. The remainder will be with the mining operation itself.

The mine site is on private property currently used to grow commercial timber. As the mining progresses through the site, the land will be reclaimed continuously and restored to productive timberland, according to a company press release.

The new mine will reportedly add another $7.7 million to SIM’s current payroll, bringing the company’s total number of employees to approximately 250.

“I think this is outstanding for Pierce County as well as the region and am excited to see the development moving forward,” says Pierce County Industrial Development Authority Executive Director Matt Carter.

SIM, headquartered in Offerman, will operate the mine on behalf of Chemours, the world’s largest producer of titanium dioxide pigments  –  key components in automotive and aerospace coatings, plastics, laminates and paper. Valuable titanium and zirconium minerals make up about three percent of the sand at the mine site. Chemours has a state permit to mine the land.

Chemours Titanium Technologies is a Delaware-based international corporation, an offshoot of Dupont Chemical.

SIM uses a gravity separation method to extract the valuable titanium and zirconium minerals from the lighter-weight quartz sand. Once separated, the rejected quartz sand is immediately returned to the pit, topsoil is replaced, and trees are replanted.

“SIM looks forward to working with Chemours,” said Stuart Forrester, president of SIM. “Through every stage of our mining process, from pre-mining surveys of wildlife to monitoring the growth of trees planted on completed mine areas, we are guided by our principles: to care for the land we work and its wildlife, to treat it as our own backyard, and to restore it to close to its pre-mining conditions.”

Mineral sand concentrate will be produced at the mine, then trucked to SIM’s Mineral Separation Plant in Offerman for final production and shipping to Chemours customers.

The mining activity is expected to begin in 2019.

Anyone interested in applying for a job at the Wayne County mine site should contact SIM at: 912-647-0301 or info@simineralsllc.com. For more information on the company, visit southernionicsminerals.com.

For more information contact Betsey Weltner, 404-304-3304; betsey@weltner.com.