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Mining company enlarging its Columbia-area holdings

Jimmy Fleming, Vulcan Materials Co. vice president for permitting, said new sites the company is buying or moving to mine will expand the company’s holdings in the two-county area. Here, Fleming stands in the company’s quarry near Columbia’s Olympia neighborhood.
Jimmy Fleming, Vulcan Materials Co. vice president for permitting, said new sites the company is buying or moving to mine will expand the company’s holdings in the two-county area. Here, Fleming stands in the company’s quarry near Columbia’s Olympia neighborhood. FILE PHOTOGRAPH

A granite mining company is one step from getting final approval to buy more than 70 acres from Richland County that would enlarge the firm’s land holdings in metropolitan Columbia.

Vulcan Materials Co., is a single Richland County Council vote away from a $273,600 purchase of 72 acres off Fairfield Road north of I-20. The county uses the land as a source of soil to cover garbage at its adjacent Caughman Road North landfill. The property also is next to Vulcan’s current 260-acre mining site in that area.

Vulcan eventually will ask the state environmental agency to grant a mining permit for the 72 acres, but only after doing more drilling and other tests, Jimmy Fleming, Vulcan’s vice president for permitting, said last week. But it would be “decades,” he said, before the company would start mining on the property it wants to buy.

Separately, Vulcan received approval in December from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to mine a quarry on 553 acres in Lexington County. But the permit is under appeal by opponents in the rural area between Gilbert and Batesburg-Leesville.

The environmental agency approved three permits on Dec. 29, DHEC spokesman Robert Yanity said. A group called the Ridge Protection Coalition asked on Jan. 11 for a review of those permits, the spokesman said. The mining council will hear arguments on the disputed permits in June, Yanity said.

Fleming said the company plans to mine about one-third of the 553 acres.

Vulcan has 11 sites in South Carolina, with its largest and most active quarry in the metropolitan area being in the Olympia neighborhood near the southern edge of downtown Columbia, Fleming said.

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