September 2009 – State & Province News
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.”