September 2009 – State & Province News
Boston Sand & Gravel recently completed installation of a new 110-kilowatt solar energy power plant. The plant is expected to supply 75 percent of the overall energy needed to power its maintenance facility in Charlestown. The system contains more than 500 solar panels and takes up approximately a half acre. “Boston Sand & Gravel is excited and pleased to complete our solar installation,” said Dean Boylan, the company president. “It is a cornerstone of our Green Plan through which we will support our customers with materials for green construction while reducing our energy consumption in the production of those materials.”
A federal judge ordered a road-widening project on the Las Vegas Beltway to be halted pending a hearing on its bidding process. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Clark County commissioners selected Las Vegas Paving over Fisher Sand and Gravel Co., even though Fisher’s bid was $4.6 million lower. Fisher bid $112.2 million and Las Vegas Paving bid $116.8 million to improve the Beltway. Fisher Sand and Gravel contends that commissioners indulged in union bias and favoritism in awarding Las Vegas Paving the contract against the advice of their legal counsel. “We’ve alleged in the complaint that Clark County commissioners have contrived a reason to deny Fisher Sand and Gravel the bid,” Fisher’s attorney, Stanley Parry, told the newspaper.
Martin Marietta is seeking city and state approval for an upgrade of its Statesville plant, the Charlotte Observer reports. The local city council is expected to give its approval to the required rezoning. The approval would allow construction of several new buildings in the first portion of a two-part upgrade expected to cost $10 million to $15 million. “We need to build a new processing plant,” Martin Marietta Vice President Pax Badham said at the public hearing. “What we have up there now is obsolete. The plant we are proposing will produce more aggregate in less time, and it will be both quieter and cleaner than our current facility.”
The Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA), in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy — Division of Mining, sponsors the annual Mineral Mining Reclamation Awards program to reward companies that apply innovative techniques beyond standard reclamation requirements. VTCA reports that the winners of the 2009 Best Reclamation Award are Kyanite Mining Corp.’s Baker Mountain Mine (in the quarry category) and Texas Brine Co. Saltville, LLC’s Saltville Salt Operation (in the non-quarry category). Kyanite Mining Corp. was picked as the overall winner and will be submitted to the Interstate Mining Compact Commission for national competition. Honorable mentions went to Aggregate Industries’ Meadow Road Plant; General Shale Brick, Inc.’s Somerset Mine; and Vulcan Material Co.’s Curles Neck Sand and Gravel plant.
An Interlake man and his son died in a gravel pit northwest of Balmoral, Manitoba, in late July. According to the Selkirk Journal, a group of ATV operators discovered a 7-year-old boy, Clay Kirschman, clinging to the roof of a pickup truck submerged under water in the gravel pit. He was rescued and brought to shore. The bodies of his father, Wayne, and 5-year-old brother, Kurt, were recovered from the scene. The municipal police say they believe alcohol was a factor in the incident.
Polaris Minerals Corp. is cutting hours for workers at its Orca Sand and Gravel quarry on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, following a tough second quarter. The Times Colonist reports that operating hours are down by one-third, allowing workers to remain eligible for benefits. The company’s second quarter loss was $3.3 million (U.S.) compared with $1.9 million in the same quarter of 2008. The company incurred higher freight costs because it ran only partially loaded vessels. Herb Wilson, Polaris president and CEO, said the company has been affected by the recession in Canada and the United States, a tight California budget, and unusually wet weather. “To mitigate the effect of lower demand,” he said, “we have reduced operating hours, rationalized production, and aggressively managed costs.”