Chemours invests $93M in new Fla. mine
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Chemours, the global chemicals company headquartered in Wilmington, has begun commissioning its newest mineral sand mine south of Jacksonville, Fla.
The new mining operation, Trail Ridge South, represents a $93 million investment that will create about 50 new jobs on land leased from the Florida National Guard. It’s an extension of its Trail Ridge mine, which Chemours and its predecessor, DuPont, have operated since 1949. Chemours owns two other mines in Georgia.
It sold off its Mining Solutions segment last year to a Czech company after turning its focus more toward rare earth minerals like those in Florida.
Commissioning work to test operational aspects is the last step in creating a new mine. Startup of production at Trail Ridge South is anticipated later this year, according to the company.
Expansion of its mining operations will allow Chemours — the only domestic producer of titanium and zirconium minerals and one of only two domestic producers of rare earth minerals — to have additional access to high-quality concentrated deposits used to produce Chemours’ Ti-Pure brand of titanium dioxide.
“The commissioning of our new Trail Ridge South mine is much more than an operational milestone — it represents a huge win for our customers, community, and our country,” Jody Sciance, co-director of Minerals Operations for Chemours, said in an Aug. 16 statement. “This secure, domestic mineral supply means more tons of titanium dioxide for our pigment customers, more jobs for Clay County residents, and access to critical materials identified by the U.S. Department of the Interior as vital to our nation’s security and economic prosperity — all with minimal impact on our local environment. We are extremely proud to expand our footprint in Florida and look forward to partnering with this community for years to come.”
Clay County and the surrounding region is a key domestic source of critical minerals that are used for aerospace and defense applications because of their light weight and high strength, officials said. They are also used in high-tech magnets and electronic components that enable clean energy and evolving digital economy, and for coatings, plastics, and laminates critical to infrastructure, automotive and energy applications.
The facility will be incorporating mobile mining units (MMUs) that address environmental concerns with traditional dredge mining. The MMUs allow the site to have much lower emissions, reduced dust levels, and improved safety by removing conventional hauling trucks. In addition, the Trail Ridge South facility will recycle 98% of its water used in the manufacturing process. Trail Ridge South process water and water treatment ponds are all constructed above ground, with approximately 39 million gallons of storage capacity.
Hiring has begun for the new facility, and operators, technicians, heavy equipment operators, and mechanics are needed, along with various other roles. In a competitive hiring market, Chemours is offering competitive pay and a comprehensive benefits package, as well as an apprenticeship program for those without mining experience.