Rock Hard on Education
In addition to school children, Kennesaw Quarry’s education program welcomes scout troops, senior citizen groups, church groups, and neighborhood groups. The quarry provides each group with educational materials, study books, worksheets, and Web links to enhance the learning experience.
Kennesaw Quarry’s location near the TELLUS Northwest Georgia Science Center, in nearby Cartersville, and the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, located in the City of Kennesaw, means that many school children will visit the quarry either before or after visiting one of the other museums. “We have very close ties with these museums, and Vulcan is a financial supporter of both,” Parivechio says.
Kennesaw Quarry’s community involvement has not gone unnoticed. “We’ve been nominated for the Kennesaw Business of the Year award,” Collier says, “and we’re working to get the Cobb County Business of the Year award, too.”
Kennesaw Quarry built a new processing plant three years ago at a cost of $28 million. The entire plant is now automated, so one employee in the control tower can operate everything in the processing plant. The new plant has a lot more bells and whistles than the old one and will run more tons per hour, but Collier says the real reason for installing the new plant was to uncover reserves that were located under the old plant. That’s where the mining is being done today.
“We have to take off 150 feet of overburden to get down to the good rock,” Collier says. “We’re going to take the level all the way down to 625 feet. We’re uncovering a lot of reserves.” The overburden is then dumped back into the far end of the pit for use in reclamation.
“We shoot, on average, once a week now, due to the downturn in the economy,” Collier says. “At one time, we were shooting every day or every other day.”
After the blast, aggregate is taken to the large, primary, 54-74 gyratory crusher. Large chunks of rock go in, and rock 8 to 10 inches in size comes out. A conveyor carries the crushed rock from the primary crusher to a large surge pile on the opposite side of the pit. From there, the material goes through a secondary cone crusher, and then a tertiary and quaternary crusher, as needed.
“The secondary crusher is a blue 8800 cone crusher — a high-speed crusher,” Collier says. “The one behind that is a 7-foot shorthead crusher. Once material is crushed at the secondary crusher, anything that doesn’t screen out that’s above 2 1/2 inches will go onto the belt and come back to the crusher again to be crushed even smaller.”
Once the material has been processed through the crushers and screens, it is placed in various stockpiles to await loadout. “Concrete companies want 57s and 56s to be clean,” Collier says, “so we wash them. We wash the fines out and pump them down into the bottom of the pit, which acts as our settling pond. The fines settle out on their own, so we don’t have to maintain a settling pond, which requires a couple of operators and extra equipment. We use the clean water for dust suppression in the plant.”
Kennesaw Quarry’s target market is within about 20 miles, so trucking is the transportation of choice. “We have a few customers that travel farther,” Collier says, “but the rule of thumb is we reach about 20 miles out…” Customer loadout is handled in a couple of different ways, however. A large, multi-silo tower allows truckers to drive under the desired feeder and load their trucks by pulling on a rope, but most customers prefer to drive into the plant to be loaded by a wheel loader.
“The loading is a little more accurate with the loader; the trucks don’t get overloaded or underloaded,” Collier says. “We’ve got scales on the loaders, so they can get the exact percentage that they need. We usually run three 980 loaders on the yard to keep our customers loaded. I’d say 90 percent of our customers are repeat customers, so they know right where to go to get their product and how to set up for the loader.”
Rail transport was once used at Kennesaw Quarry, but when the old plant was torn down three years ago, the rail went with it. Collier says there are times when he’d like to have it back.
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