University of Georgia Studies on Reforesting
Kaolin Industry Works To Preserve the Beauty
Reclaim and Rejuvenate Georgias Natural Resources
Washington County residents want to enjoy nature, they need to
look no further than their own backyards. Thanks to the Georgia
kaolin industry, that "backyard"
now contains Lake Franklin, an award-winning recreational area
developed for the community as a result of kaolin extraction.
Countys experience is not unusual. Communities throughout
middle Georgia now boast acres of forest and pastureland, wildlife
preserves, lakes and recreation areas that were once kaolin mines.
Franklin is just one example of the many beautiful places in middle
Georgia that were once mined land," said industry spokesperson
Lee Lemke, Vice President
of the China Clay Producers Association (CCPA), an industry association
of kaolin producers in Georgia.
The state of Georgia has
one of the most comprehensive reclamation acts in the nation,
requiring that an acre of land be reclaimed for every acre mined.
As mining is completed, the kaolin industry begins reshaping the
land and restoring it to its natural state. Kaolin companies spend
an estimated $1,700 per acre to reclaim mined land.
work diligently to ensure the land is returned to a productive
state," said Lemke. "The natural beauty of middle Georgia
and the abundance of wildlife are testaments to the effectiveness
of our reclamation efforts."
Companies prepare the land
for mining by removing earth to reach the kaolin deposits, which
are then transported for processing. Because kaolin can vary widely
in quality from deposit to deposit and even within the same deposit,
most companies operate more than one mine. Heavy machinery is
used to remove the kaolin for processing.
the kaolin deposit is extracted, kaolin companies begin one of
the most important parts of the job reclamation. The companies
backfill the earth known as "overburden" into the mined
areas to form a land contour compatible with the surrounding topography;
gentle slopes are created. Long slopes are broken at regular intervals
by bench basins or terraced catch basins.
and reseeding of the land often return it to a state that is more
productive than it was before mining. Kaolin companies plant commercial
forest tree species and other vegetative covers (grass and shrubbery)
to stabilize the land. The vegetation also acts as erosion control,
protecting the earth from wind and rain. The trees and plants
are selected to be compatible with the natural environment and
to be suitable for wildlife, forest production and agriculture.
The kaolin industry is currently working
with the University of Georgia to improve the growth of timber
on reclaimed lands.
kaolin industry transforms mined land into forests and pasture
lands, recreational areas, lakes, parks and other natural looking
areas. Middle Georgia will benefit from these improved areas for
many years to come.
is a non-toxic, non-polluting mineral used in a wide range of
consumer and industrial products, including paint, paper, plastic,
rubber, cosmetics, ceramics and toothpaste. The Georgia kaolin
industry takes pride in its commitment to the safety of its product
and the refining process. Kaolin producers have won numerous safety,
environmental, plant appearance and land reclamation awards, including
honors from the National Safety Council, Georgia Chamber of Commerce
and the Georgia Mining Association.
Clay Producers Association
Lee R. Lemke
Executive Vice President
113 Arkwright Landing
Macon, Georgia 31210