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Siler City Leaders Vote In Favor Of Controversial Mining Project

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SILER CITY, N.C. — A unanimous vote in favor of a proposed mining operation in Chatham County stunned some members of Siler City on Monday night.

Town leaders gave ISP Minerals the green light to pursue building a new quarry off of old State Road 421, despite worries over noise, property values and public health.

Nearly 100 people attended the town hall meeting as leaders debated for more than an hour about the quarry, which would operate 24 hours a day, six days a week and bring more than 100 jobs to the area.

"We are in desperate need of jobs and economic development, and this looks very much like a good opportunity for us to move in that direction," said Town Commissioner Helen Buckner.

"I consider it a tragedy for this town," said Elizabeth Dixon, who opposes the new quarry.

Some residents and business owners said they plan to take the matter to court.

"The alternative is for me to go out of business," said Guy Leffler, who owns a winery nearby the proposed mining site. "So, I mean, I have to fight this all the way."

"People go to a winery expecting to find a nice, quiet, serene setting," Leffler added. "And here we're going to have a 1,000-acre heavy industrial park next door."

ISP Minerals still must obtain state and federal permits before moving forward. Company officials refused to comment on the project.