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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It appears Titan America is looking to cement its plans in New Hanover County.

The company’s plant near Castle Hayne may be one step closer to becoming economically viable thanks to a land purchase kept quiet for years. Tax records show Titan purchased nearly 1,800 acres off of Holly Shelter Road under the name of Sidbury of the Carolinas, LLC. That has some environmentalists worried what may be next.

“It comes across that they’re not being open and honest with the public,” said Mike Giles of the NC Coastal Federation.

While looking over Titan’s recent request to increase the amount of air pollution allowed from its proposed facility they noticed something suspicious about 1,800 acres directly across from the old cement plant Titan owns near Castle Hayne. The company listed on the deed is owned by Titan America’s vice president.

“It’s common practice for a business to undertake real estate transactions under a different name,” Titan America Spokeswoman Kate McClain said in a statement. “It’s a typical real estate structure for limitation of liability.”

Giles says the land deal may be the least of the area’s worries. He says the mine that he thinks will soon follow is of larger concern.

“The issue we have is mining deep into where that limestone is located is in our Castle Hayne and Pee Dee Aquifer, where we obtain a lot of our drinking water,” Giles said. “Burning limestone has a high mercury content, as does the coal, so you’re getting a double whammy.”

McClain says the Coastal Federation’s concerns are overblown.

“Carolinas Cement will operate within the national ambient air quality standards, will consistently work to ensure the safety of public health and the environment and will operate the cleanest, most technologically advanced cement plant in the world,” she said.

That leaves Giles with an unanswered question.

“They’ve already said they can meet the lower limits. Why do they want to emit more?” he said.

We asked Titan what its plans were for the land it purchased. We have not yet received an answer.

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