February 2009 – AggBeat
by Kerry Clines, Senior Editor
MII and the SME Foundation merge
The Mineral Information Institute (MII) and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration’s Foundation (SME) announced a merger of their organizations effective Nov. 1, 2008. According to an MII press release, MII is now known as “MII, a Section of the SME Foundation.” The combined organizations will operate out of SME headquarters in Littleton, Colo.
“The influential combination of content, with outreach, along with the proven fundraising of the SME Foundation, provides the industry with a strong program of considerable reach,” said George Luxbacher, 2008 SME president. “It is a winning combination that will do far better than a stand-alone program.”
MII Chairman Marc Levier commented that “the merger of MII into the SME Foundation brings synergy and benefits to both organizations. MII’s materials will now be made available to K-12 teachers from a larger leveraged platform while GEM activities will have a solid supply of quality content materials. The mining industry is the ultimate winner as we consolidate like-minded organizations with overlapping missions and programs in order to bring a unified message with a larger impact to the public.”
MII is dedicated to educating youth about the science of minerals and other natural resources, and about their importance in our everyday lives. This is accomplished primarily through development of materials that are directly usable by teachers in a variety of subjects and grade levels. Materials are distributed free to more than 110,000 K-12 classroom teachers each year to supplement existing curricula.
According to Nikhil Trivedi, 2010 SME president, “The merger of MII and SME is a prime example of one plus one equaling more than two. Here are two groups of dedicated volunteers combining their resources under one umbrella to take their activities to a new level of effectiveness.”
The SME Foundation supports scientific, technical, educational, and other activities that foster interchange and understanding concerning the responsible development of the world’s mineral resources and further the professional disciplines serving the minerals industry.
Marie Patterson, a member of the MII Board of Directors, commented that, “Both organizations will benefit from the merger; more importantly, the industry will strengthen its base with effective educational resources through their joint brands.”
Therese Dunphy, editor-in-chief of Aggregates Manager and member of the MII Board of Directors, will serve as a member of its new Leadership Council.
For more information, go to www.mii.org or www.smenet.org.
McCook Quarry offers educational adventures
Vulcan Material Co.’s McCook Quarry provided great educational opportunities for the children of its surrounding community last fall, according to a news item on the company’s Web site. One opportunity revolved around Vulcan’s annual Earth Science Day. Nearly 125 students from LaGrange School District 105 visited the quarry to learn firsthand how science, technology, and engineering are used every day to better the world around them.
Students were treated to a guided bus tour of the quarry, examined limestone samples with fossils of shells, performed quality control tests, and discussed environmental issues. Lessons focused on an array of rock-related topics, giving students the opportunity to learn directly from Vulcan’s experts in the field. The Vulcan team discussed and demonstrated how limestone is formed, what technologies are used to explore natural resources for limestone, how limestone is mined, and how land is reclaimed.
Students have been asked to use their newfound understanding of the quarry to design mine reclamation concepts which will be presented to company officials at a later date.
The quarry also hosted its first annual Boy Scout Day. Boy Scouts from the area embarked on all sorts of quarry adventures and hands-on learning experiences.
The day began with a chartered bus tour of the quarry where the Scouts witnessed firsthand how natural resources are mined. Students then proceeded to the classroom for Geology 101 where they learned how limestone is formed and where it can be found. Following the lesson, Scouts got the opportunity to get their hands dirty in a full-fledged fossil hunt in the quarry. The Scouts who attended found themselves well on their way to earning their Geology Activity Pin, thanks to the quarry.
McCook Quarry has several additional ongoing collaborations which include Hodgkins Extended Learning Program where students at Hodgkins Elementary receive tutoring and homework help; and the annual Halloween safety program where the company distributes glow sticks to trick-or-treaters.
Greenhouse gas protocol
The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) Environmental Committee has developed a greenhouse gas registries (GHG) calculator to help aggregates and pulverized minerals producers calculate emissions of GHGs in an accurate, consistent, and verifiable manner. According to the NSSGA’s eDigest & Washington Watch newsletter, the calculator was developed in anticipation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to establish mandatory GHGs.
NSSGA member companies can use the spreadsheet-type protocol to determine if their emissions are above future regulatory and Congressional thresholds and participate in voluntary emission registry programs. The calculator can evaluate (based on fuel-type, usage, and power generation source) emissions from aggregate sources, ready-mix concrete operations, asphalt plants, and pulverized minerals processing sources.
Companies can refine these GHG-related procedures when regulatory agencies and standards-setting organizations establish programs for GHG emission trading and credits.
Lafarge recognized by Wildlife Habitat Council
The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) has recognized 25 Lafarge sites around North America as part of the global effort to create and preserve wildlife habitats. Every year, the WHC issues certifications to facilities that have created new habitats and renews certifications for those facilities that continue to maintain their habitats.
“Working to preserve, protect, and restore the native habitats in and around Lafarge facilities is one of our top priorities each year,” stated Craig Campbell, vice president, environment and government affairs for Lafarge North America’s Cement Division, in a company press release. “This award recognizes the hard work by our plants and employees to rebuild native forests, expand prairie lands, and provide safe habitats for many species of animals and plants to thrive on and near our property.”
Campbell added that Lafarge’s long-standing relationship with the WHC has helped to guide the company’s efforts. “This year, Lafarge is being recognized for planting 30,000 native tree seedlings in Georgia, restoring almost 10 acres of prairie land in Mississippi, and creating a safe habitat for red-tailed hawks, northern harriers, and American kestrels to live in Quebec, in addition to many other improvements.”
Vulcan/U.S. Fish and Wildlife partner
A partnership between the James River Association, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vulcan Materials Co., Coastal America, Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP), and Coastal Design and Construction saved more than 500 acres of tidal freshwater marsh located at the mouth of Herring Creek in Charles City County, Va. from erosion. According to a report in the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s eDigest & Washington Watch newsletter, the project involved the installation of a 1,825-foot-long, sloping stone structure between the James River and the marsh that will help prevent marsh vegetation and sediment from further eroding the area known as Ducking Stool Point.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Virginia Fisheries Coordinator Office proposed the project for funding through the Department of Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Initiative (CCI) program. A $100,000 grant was provided through CCI, and the James River Association was selected to coordinate and execute the project. Vulcan provided 3,600 tons of material and its transport, valued at $69,000 for the project. CWRP provided $30,000 toward the project, and Coastal Design and Construction donated $10,000 worth of service toward the project.
Lincoln Memorial renovations completed
Renovations to the Lincoln Memorial were completed just in time for President Barack Obama’s inauguration last month, reports Skanska USA Building Inc., the project contractor. Skanska placed more than 14,000 100-pound concrete pavers between the Lincoln Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool that leads to the Washington Monument.
The difficulty with the project was that square pavers had to be placed in long, curving lines that were not uniform. After some trial and error and much tinkering, the Skanska team created a walk-behind saw that would be used only on that project. The saw was placed on a set of rails to ensure a perfect cut and carefully shape each paver to its unique curve. The result was a faster workflow that allowed the project to finish ahead of schedule.
The Lincoln Memorial will be rededicated with a public program on May 30. President Obama has been invited to give an address.
National Lime and Stone Co. was recognized by the Ohio Aggregates and Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA) for outstanding efforts in reclamation at its Delaware plant and Carey quarry, according to the Progressor times.com.
“Reclamation is an integral part of the mining process and one that all of our members take very seriously,” said Patrick Jacomet, executive director of OIAMA. “Companies like National Lime and Stone have been singled-out by their peers as going above and beyond what is required and for leaving a lasting legacy to be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Texas Industries, Inc.’s Frances Petty, who oversees the Cement Division’s Mine Safety Program, was awarded the Distinguished Health and Safety Achievement Award at the annual meeting of the Western Region Joint Mine Conference in Denver. The annual award is given to the person in the mining industry who has exhibited leadership in promoting health and safety within the industry. Steve Minshall of Holcim presented the award to Petty on behalf of the Conference Committee.
HeidelbergCement, which acquired Hanson in 2007, recently announced that Dr. Dominik von Achten took on responsibility for the North America Group beginning last month.
The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association has posted a new Safety Alert on its Web site – Powered Haulage Safety at MNM Mines: January 2007 – December 2007. The alert reports that 24 percent of the 33 metal/non-metal fatalities were due to powered haulage and lists the accidents. The report includes best practices and safe work procedures for avoiding these accidents.