State and Province News April 2012
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.
The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would repeal a requirement that stone, sand, and gravel operators pay the state’s mining license tax. According to Alaska Native News, H.B. 298 was a collaborative effort by Rep. Paul Seaton and Sen. Tom Wagoner. Seaton told the newspaper that approximately 50 percent of the sand and gravel mined in the state is used in public works projects, and the mining permit costs are passed back to the government in terms of increased materials costs. A companion bill, S.B. 176, is making its way through the Senate.
Vulcan Materials Co., Western Region, donated its archive to the Huntington Library, Arts Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. The Bradenton Herald reports that the collection is valued at more than $34,000 and depicts the company’s role in infrastructure development and the construction of area landmarks, including Los Angeles’ City Hall, Union Station, Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and Pasadena’s iconic Colorado Street Bridge. Jock Scott, former vice president of engineering, began collecting material for the archive in 1979 and combined his collection with that of Joanna Pierce, retired director of corporate communications.
Colonial Mining Materials, LLC, has taken over operations of Quality Mine in Placida. According to a company press release, Naples-based Stock Development, Inc. owns the mine and approached Colonial to replace its mine operator last summer. Colonial Mining Materials was established to operate the mine and increase sales. It purchased the mine equipment from the prior operator, repaired it, and put it back into service. It also acquired a new wash plant and continues to employ a number of the site’s workers.
An overturned truck hauling sand and gravel shut down State Road 207 in early March, StAugustine.com reports. The driver, who was trucking for Mid-Florida hauling, said he was transporting a shipment of rock when the truck dumped over. He noted that it was the first truck in eight years that had dumped, and said he thought he was loaded a little heavily to one side.
CRH announced a series of management changes to its U.S. operations. Doug Black, chief executive of its U.S. materials division, is taking on the newly created post of president and chief operating officer of Oldcastle Inc. He will report to Mark Towe, chief executive of Oldcastle. Black has been with the company since 1995 and has held a number of management positions. Randy Lake will succeed Black as chief executive of the group’s U.S. materials division. He is chief executive of Americas Building Solutions and has been with Oldcastle since 1996. Keith Haas will become chief executive of an expanded Americas Building Products Group. He joined the company in 1995.
The Muskegon Planning Commission voted unanimously to reject a special-use permit to store construction materials on the former Sappi paper mill site, Michigan Live reports. Owner Doug Melching, of Melching Inc., planned to use the site along the deep water port to store sand and gravel, but the city’s planning department recommended against that proposal because the city’s master plans call for bulk storage on the east side of Muskegon Lake, and the former paper mill is located on the west side of the lake.
More than 100 residents attended a recent public hearing held by the Houston County Planning and Zoning Commission on whether to recommend a new mining permit moratorium to the county board. The Spring Grove Herald reports that the group reviewed the county’s land-use ordinance for mineral extraction and noted some key points such as setbacks and language regarding dust controls. During a public comments period, nearly three quarters of attendees requested the group suggest a one-year moratorium rather than a three-month ban on new operations. After much discussion, the commission voted 4-to-3 in favor of recommending a one-year moratorium. A date for the county board’s vote had not been scheduled at Aggregates Manager press time.
The Scandia City Council renewed the annual operating permits for two sand and gravel mines operating in the city, according to the Forest Lake Times. Bracht Brothers did not produce aggregate in 2011, but did sell existing stockpiles and conduct reclamation activities on portions of its site. The same activity is planned for 2012. Tiller’s conditional-use permit allows excavating into the ground water. In addition to mining sand and gravel, Tiller imports rock, recycled asphalt, and concrete from other locations for processing on site and produces hot-mix asphalt. The council included a condition on each permit that prohibits engine braking in Scandia.
Two generations of family members are preparing to sell Future Mining of Middle Township, a subsidiary of Albrecht & Heun. The Courier Post reports that the remaining members of the older generation are preparing to retire, and the younger generation plans to focus on the construction part of the business. The estimated market value of sand and gravel reserve is estimated to be $74 million, but the price may increase dramatically if the sand is determined to be suitable for fracking. The company has not yet received a final report on its suitability, but called the preliminary results “promising.”
The West Bloomfield Town Board extended a moratorium on special-use permit applications for land zoned agricultural. According to the Messenger Post, the town supervisor and other officials decided to extend the moratorium until December. The town first enacted a nine-month moratorium in June 2011 to allow it time to update its 10-year-old Comprehensive Plan. The moratorium was set to expire in March, but the town attorneys recommended more time to allow for environmental reviews and public hearings. They have asked for a ruling on whether the moratorium would impact Elam Sand and Gravel Corp.’s application for a special-use permit to mine a parcel of land zoned agricultural.
On March 1, New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc., a privately held, vertically integrated construction materials supplier and heavy/highway construction contractor, announced the pricing of its offering of $265 million in aggregate principal amount of its 13-percent Senior Secured Notes due 2018. According to a press release, the company intends to enter into a new $170 million asset-based revolving loan facility, with notes being secured, subject to certain permitted liens and except for certain excluded assets, by first-priority liens on substantially all of the company’s personal property and on certain owned and leased real property and by second-priority liens on its accounts receivable, inventory, and deposit accounts and certain related assets and real property that will secure its new asset-based revolving loan facility on a first-priority lien basis. The notes will mature on March 15, 2018. The company says it intends to use proceeds from the offer and certain borrowings to repay all outstanding indebtedness under its existing senior secured credit facilities and certain other debt, terminate each such indebtedness, and pay all fees and expenses associated with the offer and these financing transactions.
The Ash Grove Cement Co.’s Leamington plant won top honors in the company’s annual L.T. Sunderland Safety Excellence Award competition for 2011, according to a company press release. Each facility is evaluated on a matrix of data that is focused on health and safety process and results. The Ash Grove Safety Leadership Steering Committee scores each of the health and safety metrics used in selecting the best overall performing plant. Those scores are tabulated, and the plant with the highest score is selected to receive the award. For 2011, the plant with the overall highest score was Leamington. “Our team takes great pride in this honor,” said Leamington Plant Manager Ron Smith. “This recognition is proof of our commitment to ensure that each of our employees goes home whole each day.”
House lawmakers voted unanimously to advance a bill that would extend a temporary increased weight limit for trucks hauling sand, gravel, and crushed stone. According to Land Line magazine, the current bill is set to expire on July 1. While the measure is a temporary one, the expiration date has been updated for the last seven years.
Ozaukee County is getting a first-hand look at the challenges involved in permitting, even when expanding an existing site, as it seeks to grow its operation in the town of Saukville by 35 acres. The Ozaukee Press reports that the proposal has caused “a real uproar” in the town and that Saukville officials say they would have to rezone the land and grant a conditional-use permit before the county could expand its quarry. Counsel for the county said that it has the necessary zoning approvals and permits to operate its current operation, a point that was litigated when it expanded the operation a decade ago. The county board chairman noted that the town has a substantial investment in its operation and benefits from its ability to repair roads and reduce truck traffic that would otherwise be necessary if it imported gravel from outside the county.
Aggregate operations in the greater Hamilton area earned special recognition for excellence in various aspects of their operations, according to thespec.com. Awards were presented at the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s (OSSGA) annual general meeting. Progressive Rehabilitation Awards went to Capital Paving Inc. for its Wellington Pit, and to Lafarge Canada Inc. for its Hagersville Quarry. Walker Aggregates Inc. received a Community Relations Award for its Vineland Quarries and Crushed Stone, and Lafarge was honored with a Property Enhancement Award for the Hagersville Quarry.