Gravel mine okayed

Gravel mine okayed

By Rupert Howell
Panola County may soon have a new sand and gravel mining operation following Monday’s meeting of the Panola County Land Commission who approved a 490 acre area west of Old Panola Road just south of the Tate County line.
Engineer Blake Mendrop represented the Hunt family who currently operate eight mining operations, four with asphalt plants in other areas. Hunt family members at Monday’s meeting noted 60 years of doing business.
Mendrop noted easy access to Highway 51 predicting approximately 50 trucks per day to be added to the 3,400 average vehicles per day using Highway 51 at that location.
Owners agreed during the monthly meeting, to maintain the approximate 1,000 feet of Old Panola Road from the property entrance to Highway 51 during the monthly meeting.
Mendrop also noted that the 25 acres to be initially used for mining was surrounded by agricultural land, much of it in young timber that would remain until mature for harvest. Hunt family members said five to seven acres would be added to the mining operation as needed.
Approval also required a 100’ buffer of trees around the property even if other timber is harvested.
“They would own it,” Mendropp stated adding, “They’re not flipping it.”
“What about noise,” asked Bill Wallace who owns adjoining property and was one of a few there for the public hearing on the special exception.
One of the Hunt family members explained the company requires the minimum standard backup warning alarms that warn locally and not throughout the countryside with Mendrop reminding those at the hearing and commissioners that buffers are also in place.
Mendrop said owners first wanted to secure a special exception prior to applying to the Department of Environmental Quality for a permit to operate a mine. That agency regulates laws pertaining to mining operations.
Gravel mines and controversy surrounding them have plagued land commissioners and Panola supervisors over the years and on two occasions have wound up in the State Supreme Court.
Two mining operations have been cleared, one by H & G Land Company east of Como and another by APAC between Batesville and Sardis, but have yet gone into operation.
Any opposition to Monday’s decision must be filed with Panola supervisors within a 10-day period.

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