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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Mining Operations

Marine Fisheries

mining

Mining Operations

Habitats Affected: Water column, soft bottom, wetlands

Common Sources: As of October 2004, no mining (other than for beach nourishment) occurs in North Carolina estuarine and nearshore ocean waters. However, the potential for mining projects exists in phosphate-rich areas in nearshore ocean waters in Onslow Bay as well as the Pamlico River.  In addition, sand mining is common throughout eastern North Carolina, and occasionally mines are dewatered into wetlands or coastal streams.

Impacts:

  • Extraction of minerals could have bottom-disturbing effects similar to that of dredging, such as
    •  increased turbidity
    •  mortality of benthic organisms
  • Underwater mining activities could lead to the unintentional release of “phosphate mining byproducts” into the water column, including radioactive substances, florides, and other chemicals.
  • Water from sand mines entering wetlands and coastal streams can increase turbidity.

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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632

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