Permitted Active and Inactive Mines in North Carolina



This section of the N.C. Geological Survey's Internet site replaces the previously printed "Permitted Active and Inactive Mines in North Carolina" reports. Previous reports were issued annually depending on staff time. Click here for State annual mineral chapters (PDF format) from 1994 to present.

Data tables of active and inactive permitted mines in North Carolina are available here. The extracted file is sorted by county. Interested parties can sort the extracted file by a number of parameters including commodity.

Elsewhere on this page the "Mine location maps and data tables for North Carolina (1999-2000)" are preserved.  These maps show the location of mines that have been in operation for many years. The accompanying data tables show the corresponding geological map unit from the 1985 Geologic Map of North Carolina.

Update on recent mining news in North Carolina

Brick maker to expand -- posted November 10, 2003 -- from the News and Observer, November 8, 2003.

Triangle Brick Co., a fast-growing clay brick manufacturer based in Durham, plans to invest $35 million in a new plant to be build in the Carolinas or Virginia. It is expected to employ 50 people and be the fifth brick plant the company operates by the time it opens.

Triangle Brick also plans to re-open a plant south of Durham that was closed a couple of years ago. That plant, which could be operating as early as January, will employ 35 people.

"The demand for brick overall continues to be strong, and we've had very strong demand for our products due to a number of our marketing efforts," said Scott Mollenkopf, Triangle Brick's vice president.

The company is not planning to locate its new plant in the Triangle, because it already has two plants in Merry Oaks south of Apex, he said.

Founded in 1959, Triangle Brick was sold in 1979 to Roeben Tonbaustaffe, a German manufacturer of tiles and brick. It is now a subsidiary of that company. The privately held company has seen sales triple in the past six years, Mollenkopf said.

Hecla Mining Company signs agreement to sell industrial minerals subsidiaries to Imerys -- posted 3/2/2001 -- from Business Wire

Hecla Mining Company announced February 27, 2001, it had entered into an agreement to sell its wholly owned subsidiaries, Kentucky-Tennessee Clay Company and K-T Feldspar, to Imerys USA, Inc. for a price of $62.5 million, subject to customary post-closing adjustments.

The transaction includes the ball clay, kaolin and feldspar operations of Hecla, and is expected to close during the first week of April, subject to regulatory approval.

Zemex terminates contract with Hecla Mining Company -- posted 2/19/2001 -- from various news media sources -- see previous postings on this page

Zemex announced February 16, 2001, that it had formally terminated its contract with Hecla Mining Company to purchase Hecla's Kentucky-Tennessee Clay subsidiary. Zemex had previously notified Hecla that because of a material adverse change in K-T Clay's business, the conditions to Zemex's obligation to purchase K-T Clay had not been satisfied.

Vulcan Materials quarries recognized for beautification efforts -- posted 2/14/2001 -- from Mining Engineering magazine February 2001

Six of Vulcan's quarries in North Carolina and four more in Virginia were recognized for their beautification efforts by the National Aggregates Association-National Stone Association (NAA-NSA). The Clear Creek and Morganton quarries in North Carolina and the Skippers quarry in West Virginia were recognized as Showplace Award winners as part of the NAA-NSA's About Face awards program.  The Boone, Cabarrus, Elkin and Gold Hill quarries in North Carolina and the Royal Stone, Sanders and Stafford in Virginia were recognized for maintaining their status as Showplace quarries. The Showplace Award recognizes the highest level of achievement in quarry beautification.

Marathon and Exxon Mobil must be reimbursed for their leases for drilling off the North Carolina coast -- posted 1/5/01 -- from the News and Observer 1/3/01

The Interior Department must return $156 million to two oil companies because environmental restrictions prevented them from exploring for oil and natural gas off the North Carolina coast more than a decade ago.

A federal appeals court ordered payments to Marathon Oil Co., and Exxon Mobil Corp., saying the government had reneged on its contracts when it rescinded leases for drilling rights 45 miles east of Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks.

The ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit directed the Interior Department to reimburse the two companies their full investment -- $78 million each -- and rejected government arguments that the payments should be reduced. The order requires interest to be paid at about 5 percent beginning December 29, 2000.

Hiddenite emerald bid - posted 12/15/2000 -- from the News and Observer 12/8/2000

A huge emerald unearthed two years ago near Stateville failed to sell at a New York auction on December 7, 2000. The 18.8 carat "Carolina Queen" is considered by many gem experts to be the rarest combination of size and quality every produced in the United States.

The rare stone drew a high bid of $460,000, which auction officials said was below the minimum they had set for the stone.

The stone was cut from a golf-ball-sized, 72-carat uncut crystal from an abandoned mine site located near Hiddenite, in Alexander County, NC in 1988.  The same crystal had earlier produced another huge emerald called the "Carolina Prince," a 7.85 carat stone that was sold to a private buyer in 1999 for $500,000.

Corning plans to further expand Midland (NC) plant - posted 12/15/2000 -- from the News and Observer 12/8/2000

Corning announced 12/7/2000 that it will spend $450 million to expand its Cabarrus County fiber-optic cable plant, making it the largest such facility in the world.

The expansion follows a $550 million addition announced earlier this year and will add 475 jobs to the plant in Midland, which already employs 700 people. In all the company will add more than 1,000 employees when both expansions are completed sometime in late 20003 or 2004.

Corning's facility in Wilmington has been the world's largest optical-fiber plant.

Zemex to purchase ball clay and kaolin operations of Hecla Mining Co. - posted 12/15/2000

Zemex Corporation announced 11/20/2000 that it had agreed to purchase the ball clay and kaolin operations ("K-T Clay") of Hecla Mining Company for US$68 million, subject to closing adjustments.  The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval is scheduled to close in January 2001 according to PRNewswire.

Hecla may sell industrial minerals subsidiary - posted 10/2/2000

Mining Engineering reported in its September 2000 issue (p. 30) that "Hecla Mining said it has received enough interest in its Kentucky-Tennessee (K-T Clay) industrial minerals subsidiary that the company is considering selling it."

According to Hecla, "...selling K-T Clay would allow Hecla to eliminate its bank debt and use the cash to take advantage of opportunities to increase the company's precious metals reserves and production."

Hecla acquired K-T Clay in 1984 when it merged with Ranchers Exploration and Development. K-T Clay is headquartered in Nashville, TN. It has ball clay, kaolin and feldspar operations in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Mexico. K-T provides about half of the nation's ball clay.

Kings Mountain Group mica operation sold to Oglebay-Norton Specialty Minerals - posted 10/12/2000

The Kings Mountain Group mica operation, formerly a division of Franklin Minerals, has been purchased by Oglebay-Norton Specialty Minerals.

Winton (Hertford Co.) aluminum operation to be closed - posted 10/2/2000

According to the Associated Press in an article on September 27, 2000 in Raleigh's "News and Observer," the Winton (Hertford County) aluminum fabrication and extrusion operation operation will close. About 300 workers will be displaced. The operation is owned by Indalex.  Indalex will transfer much of Winton's business to other plants, particularly the operation in Gainesville, GA.  

The drawn tube operations at the Indalex plant in Winton will remain open. About 150 of the 450 plant employees work in the drawn-tube operations.

The plant's manufacturing and extrusion sector is being shuttered because the operation is aging and bringing "the plant up to an acceptable operational standard would be probative," said an Indalex spokesman.

The plan presses aluminum into various sizes, shapes and strengths for industrial uses.

Nucor is building a $300 million steel recycling plant in Winton that is expected to employ 300 workers.

Geochemistry on the web - posted 5/26/2000

Map images of the National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) geochemical data base for North Carolina were added to this site. Uses, applications and limitations of the data are explained.

Barite grinding - posted 7/19/2000

Zemex is now grinding barite at their old marble grinding plant in Murphy, N.C. The barite is mined and milled by a contractor and trucked to Murphy. The barite comes from the Sweetwater district, Tennessee. Production is not known.

(This information is from various reports received.)

Roofing granule operation announced - posted 1/30/2000

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) plans a quarry on a 180-acre tract south of Pittsboro, N.C. The company's mining division uses the dark-colored rock to manufacture roofing granules, which in turn are used in the production of shingles. Core drilling continued into late 1999 and some additional core drilling was scheduled in early 2000. Permitting is in progress. (Note: Mining Permit #19-16 was issued March 27, 1999 by the Land Quality Section.)

Investment in a complete plant is estimated to be about $50 million. The facility is expected to be completed in 2002. 3M is reported to be eligible for job creation, worker training and investment tax credits as part of state incentives to attract industries. The roofing granules will be colored in neutral shades including blues, greens, blacks and browns.

(This information was condensed from various stories in the News and Observer, Raleigh.)

Cherokee Sanford to be acquired - posted 1/30/2000; information updated through 5/4/2000

Cherokee Sanford Group LLC (Cherokee Sanford), the Sanford-based brickmaker, the state's largest, is being bought out by an Austrian company. Wienerberger Baustoffindustrie AG, the world's largest brickmaker, bought Cherokee Sanford for $US81 million through its U.S. subsidiary, Johnston City, Tennessee-based General Shale Building Materials GP, the parent company of General Shale Products LLC. The transaction was completed February 10, 2000.

Capacity at the Brickhaven (N.C.) plant is expected to expand. Wienerberger acquired General Shale in June 1999 for $260 million to gain a foothold in the U.S. market.

Wienerberger bought out local owner Thomas Darden; the Houston-based Rice, Sanglis, Toole and Wilson Investment Fund (owner of a 51 percent stake); and the equity held by Cherokee Sanford's top management. The current management team will be retained.

With five percent of the U.S. market, Cherokee Sanford is the sixth largest producer in the country, helped in large measure by North Carolina's role as the top-consuming brick state in the nation. Sales last year reached $81 million with an operating profit about $10 million. The leading brickmaker in the United States is Boreal Ltd. with a reported 18 percent market share.

The deal helps Wienerberger beef up its No. 2 position in the United States, pushing its market share up to 17 percent. Five of the top six brick producers in the United States are now foreign-owned.

Cherokee Sanford specializes in facing bricks, used in the facades of houses. Its five plants have a capacity of 375 million U.S.-brick units per year. Cherokee Sanford was formed when Cherokee Brick and Sanford Brick merged in 1984.

(This information was condensed from various stories in the News and Observer, Raleigh.)

Alaskite and the geology of industrial minerals of the Spruce Pine District, North Carolina - posted 1/30/2000

Carl Merschat (, Senior Geologist with the N.C. Geological Survey's Asheville Office (828-251-6208) presented an abstract at the 1998 SME Industrial Minerals technical program in Orlando, FL. A key conclusion of his presentation is that geologic mapping has delineated metasomatic schists surrounding granitoids that may represent potential mica, feldspar and quartz reserves.

In preparing his report, Merschat became aware that the ultra-high purity quartz produced in the Spruce Pine Mining District is not included in the USGS Mineral Industry Survey of North Carolina. It may not be included because it is considered a manufactured product. Unimin is known to produce a quartz product from their Schoolhouse Quartz plant and mine located along Brushy Creek in Avery County. It can be estimated that as much as $200 million of ultra-pure quartz may be produced annually. If true, the value of this high-dollar material is considerable and would improve North Carolina's rank and standing in industrial mineral production in the United States.

Merschat noted in his abstract that "The Spruce Pine Mining District, northwestern N.C., produces more than $75 million worth of feldspar, scrap mica, ultra-pure quartz, and olivine annually, and is a leading U.S. producer in most. Sheet mica, residual kaolin, anthophyllite, and kyanite were previously mined in the district. Feldspar, mica, and ultra-pure quartz are derived from Devonian peraluminous granodioritic to quartz dioritic plutons (uniquely low in iron and titanium) that intruded Late Proterozoic metasediments and metavolcanics. Dunites, emplaced into Late Proterozoic sequences and Grenville basement rocks, yield olivine."

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Inc. (PCS) - posted 5/5/2000

According to the 1999 PCS annual report (p.33), PCS is "...proceeding with a consolidation of its Raleigh, NC and Memphis, TN administrative offices with the Company's office in Chicago, IL. As a result of the consolidation, 115 salaried employees will be terminated, with termination dates ranging from March 31, 2000 through to September 30, 2000." The report did not state the exact number of positions that would be lost from the Raleigh, NC area.

The same report (p. 11) stated "With the idling of the PCS export terminal at Jacksonville, Florida, White Springs (Florida) now exports through the port facility at Morehead City, North Carolina used by Aurora. This consolidation helped reduce distribution costs and improve services."

Zemex Corporation - posted May 5, 2000

On December 8, 1999, the Corporation announced that it had retained Banc of America Securities, LLC to review methods and opportunities to maximize value for the Corporation's shareholders. On April 11, 2000, the Corporation announced that it had completed the sale of the two subsidiaries comprising the metal powders division, Pyron Corporation and Pyron Metal Powders, Inc., to a subsidiary of Hoganas AB for gross proceeds of approximately $41 million in cash, subject to certain post-closing adjustments.

In related news, the North Carolina muscovite mica plant was brought on stream and production is reported to be near design capacity in early 2000. Modernization and throughput improvements are continuing in the North Carolina sodium feldspar complex in North Carolina.

Zemex Corporation - posted September 13, 2000

According to the second quarter report, "...the start-up of our muscovite mica facility in Spruce Pine, North Carolina has encountered many more difficulties than envisioned."

U.S. Forest Service lands in North Carolina - posted May 8, 2000

Last Fiscal Year there U.S. Forest Service in North Carolina (NFsNC) processed permits for 34 non-bonded non-energy operations, processed permits for 4 bonded non-energy operations, and administered 7 bonded operations. Typically these permits are for building stone. There were a few requests for gold panning but very few.

U.S. Geological Survey to stop printing "Water Resources Conditions in North Carolina - posted June 6, 2000

The U.S. Geological Survey North Carolina District announced in March that it will discontinue printing ite month Water Resources Conditions in North Carolina bulletin. The monthly conditions will continue to be available on the district's website.


Publicly traded companies

Information about companies with publicly traded stock is available on the Internet through the Securities and Exchange Commission at: Reports such as 8K, 10K and annual corporate are readily accessed. The 'EDGAR' portion of that site contains the relevant information.


Defense National Stockpile Center (DNSC)

The Defense National Stockpile Center (DNSC) contact point is: 8725 John J. Kingman Rd., Suite 4616, Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060. The main telephone number is 703.767.5500. 


Mine location maps and data tables for North Carolina

This section provides location maps and information about the mining industry in North Carolina as of August 1999. The geology "call" comes from the digital relating the geologic units of the 1985 Geologic Map of North Carolina with mine locations provided by the Division of Land Resources, Land Quality Section (LQS). Geology "calls" are not field checked. Over time, the positional accuracy of the mines will improve.

Rock properties and geochemistry of aggregate materials are being added for various aggregate sources from N.C. DOT's state approved list. Similar data for other mineral commodities are not available.

The following maps and tables show permitted mines as of August 1999. The following table provides links to: 1) the statewide data used to construct these image maps, and 2) regional maps and data. The statewide data are sorted by county and commodity in accompanying tables. At the lower left corner of each image map and table are navigation links that: 1) return you to this table, 2) return you to the minerals page, or 3) return you to the NC Geological Survey's home page. It is not practical to frequently update the regional maps and data listing because the permitted mines database is continually being updated.

Warning: the statewide data files are large. Dial-in users may wait many minutes for these files to load. Use your browser to return to this page.

Map or accompanying data Map Data
Statewide (unsorted) yes yes
Statewide (sorted by commodity)   yes
Statewide (sorted by county)   yes
Asheville yes yes
Fayetteville yes yes
Mooresville yes yes
Raleigh yes yes
Washington yes yes
Wilmington yes yes
Winston-Salem yes yes


2000 North Carolina mining statistics for active and inactive mines*

Brick Clay CL 46 166 10 1,609 3,348 11,947
Crushed Stone CS 142 590 71 11,846 15,258 39,164
Dimension Stone DS 14 14 3 149 149 975
Flag Stone FL 8 1 0 80 80 538
Feldspar FS 6 2 0 314 621 1,477
Gemstone GS 7 0 0 24 24 81
Gold AU 1 0 0 10 10 73
In stream Sand Dipping DP 33 3 7 88 143 240
In stream Sand Dredging DR 29 16 10 122 208 446
Lithium LI 1 0 0 44 44 972
Mica MI 3 18 0 411 580 4,979
Olivine OL 6 1 0 50 143 316
Other (Borrow Pits) OT 10 3 5 181 181 424
Peat PE 3 0 0 10 106 3,333
Phosphate PH 2 457 0 9,986 11,470 15,952
Pyrophyllite PY 4 0 0 136 136 414
Sand & Gravel SG 574 1,077 469 9,239 16,225 37,523
TOTALS   889 2,348 575 34,299 48,726 118,854

* Statistics are based upon Annual Reclamation Reports submitted by each mine operator and validated by Land Quality Section (LQS) regional office field staff. As validations are continually being entered into the LQS statewide computer database from which these statistics are derived, these figures should be considered approximate.

** This acreage does not reflect reclamation in progress.


Total number of mines on inventory at the end of each calendar year

Year Active Inactive Released Total
1994 761 49 555 1,365
1995 649 146 629 1,424
1996 662 150 677 1,489
1997 630 184 720 1,524
1998 652 176 763 1,591
1999 674 180 806 1,660
2000 698 191 833 1,722


Mineral Industry Indicators

The Metal Industry Indicators is produced at the U.S. Geological Survey by the Minerals Information Team. The report is prepared by George Swisko (703.648.4912), e-mail (, Kenneth Beckman (703.648.4912), e-mail (, and Gail James (703.648.4915), e-mail The former Center for International Business cycle Research, under the direction of Dr. Geoffrey H. Moore, and the former U.S. Bureau of Mines developed the metal industry leading and coincident indexes in the early 1990's. Customers can send mail concerning the Metal Industry Indicators to the following address: U.S. Geological Survey, Minerals Information Team, 988 National Center, Reston, VA 20192. The address for the Metal Industry Indicators on the World Wide Web is:



Mining Program, Land Quality Section - Click here for information about the Division of Land Quality's Mining program, staff contacts, forms, a list of active and inactive mines, and other information. The mailing address is Division of Land Resources, Land Quality Section, ENR, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612. The telephone number is: 919.733.4574; the facsimile number is: 919.715.8801. The  street address is: 512 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27604, 5th floor. 

Minerals Research Laboratory (MRL) - Mr. John Schlanz, Interim Director, 180 Coxe Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. Telephone: 828.251.6155; facsimile: 828.251.5155.  MRL's Internet site is

N.C. Aggregates Association - Mr. Fred Allen, P.E., Executive Director, Suite 210, Caswell Building, The Koger Center, PO Box 30603, Raleigh, NC 27622. Telephone: .919.782.7055; facsimile: 919.782.7060. E-mail: Their Internet site

N.C. Mining Association - Mr. Lucius Pullen, 919.788.8600 General Counsel, P.O. Box 6527, Raleigh, NC 27628. Telephone: 919.788-8600. E-mail:

Brick Association of North Carolina - Mr. Peter P. Cieslak, 8420 University Executive Park Drive, Suite 800, Charlotte, NC 28262. Telephone: 704.510.1500 or 800.622.7425; facsimile 704.510.0042. E-mail: The Brick Association's Internet site is:

N.C. DOT Materials and Tests Unit - Mr. Randy Pace, 1801 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607. Telephone: 919.733.7901.

Defense National Stockpile Center (DNSC), Ft. Belvoir, VA - For inquiries try 703.767.5475.

U.S. Geological Survey - Mr. Arnold Tanner, Physical Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, 984 National Center, Reston, VA 20192. Telephone: 703.648.4758; facsimile: 703.648.4760. E-mail:

The alternate contact is Mr. Stephen D. Smith (State data) - 703.648.7946; his facsimile number is 800.543.0661. His e-mail is:

Internet: and

Additional information is available from the USGS' 'MINES FaxBack' at 703.648.4999. This facsimile service requires a touch-tone handset on a facsimile machine. A broad range of data are available by automated facsimile response including domestic and international commodity information.

U.S. Forest Service - Mr. Lynn Hicks is the US Forest Service contact for minerals in the National Forests of North Carolina.  His phone number is 828.257.4243 (direct); and 828.257.4200 (general). His duty station is Asheville, NC. His e-mail is


Whom do I contact about getting a mining permit?

In order to comply with the Mining Act of 1971 (Act), interested parties should contact the State Mining Specialist, Land Quality Section of the Division of Land Resources. The address is State Mining Specialist, Division of Land Resources, Land Quality Section, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612. The telephone number is 919.733.4574.

The Act covers all persons or firms involved in any activity or process that: affects one or more acres of land and results in the breaking of the surface soil in order to remove minerals or other solid matter; is all or part of a process for the removal of minerals, soils and other solid matter from its original location; or, involves preparation, washing, cleaning or other treatment of minerals or other solid matter to make them suitable for commercial, industrial or construction use. Such operations can range from large stone quarries to borrow pits. There are specific exemptions from the Act. Further information is available from the Land Quality Section Internet site:


For more information

North Carolina Geological Survey - Dr. Jeff Reid, P.G., CPG, Senior Geologist -Minerals and Geographic Information Systems, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612. Telephone: 919.744.2423; facsimile 919.733-0900. E-mail: