Marion County welcomes sand mine interest

Marion, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

MARION, SC (WMBF) - The director of Marion County's Economic Development Commission has offered assistance to the asphalt company that originally applied to build a sand mine in Carolina Forest.

Southern Asphalt withdrew the application for the sand mine in Horry County on Tuesday. Several Carolina Forest residents expressed health and safety concerns about the mine.

Jamie McClain with Southern Asphalt said the company will now consider a location in Marion County, an idea welcomed by the county's Economic Development Director Rodney Berry.

"I simply like the fact that they immediately looked to Marion County," Berry said. "I think we've got the word out that we're a friendly place to do business and we're ready to engage all those who come knocking on our door."

Berry said Marion County has lots of farm land that could make a suitable site for the mine. He said he agrees with the concerns from Carolina Forest homeowners, so he wants to be sure the mine is far from homes.

"I think it would have to be somewhat of an isolated area," Berry explained. "Obviously it needs to be away from residential. Marion County has an abundance of that type of opportunity through farm land. So this might be a real opportunity for a farmer in our area."

Berry believes the mine could also be an economic opportunity. The mine would create about 12 jobs, but Berry says it could lead to more development and job creation in the area.

"Where as some people don't look at those numbers as huge numbers, everything to me is something Marion County needs to look at," Berry said. "Everything is significant in terms of jobs even if it's just four or five."

Southern Asphalt has not shown interest in any particular area of land in Marion County. Berry said he and the company will be working together to identify a good site for the mine.

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