Chemical and mining company DuPont has announced the donation of sixteen thousand acres of land adjacent to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Georgia to the Conservation Fund in Arlington, Virginia.
DuPont acquired the property in the 1990s for its titanium ore, but public concerns about a mining project on the land prompted the company to suspend the plans. To better examine its options, DuPont assembled a group of local community officials; leaders of nongovernmental organizations; landowners; Native Americans; and representatives of companies involved in the area's mining, tourism, and wood fiber interests. The group recommended that the land should not be mined. As part of the agreement with the Conservation Fund, International Paper, which currently holds the land's wood fiber and recreational rights, said it would permanently relinquish acquisition rights to prevent mining of the property in the future. The paper company will continue to maintain a working forest on the property in a manner that ensures biodiversity and maintains recreational opportunities.
"We believe that our donation of DuPont land in and near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a concrete example of 'walking the talk' with regard to our company's commitment to sustainable growth and social responsibility," said DuPont chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday, Jr. "The refuge is an ecological treasure. Through the good work of our partner, the Conservation Fund, we are confident that the land we are donating will be properly and permanently protected. We are also grateful to all the stakeholders who participated in the collaborative process that helped us reach this very positive outcome."