State and Province News December 2011
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.
Vulcan Materials Co. named John McPherson as its senior vice president of strategy and business development. According to a company press release, McPherson was hired from international management firm McKinsey & Co., where he served as a senior partner in charge of human capital practice.
El Mirage dropped a controversial proposal to annex mining property owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, The Arizona Republic reports. The city’s proposal raised the ire of neighboring Youngstown leaders, who threatened to sue. Under state mining laws, neither city has the regulatory ability to stop mining on the site, where such activities have taken place for decades. El Mirage Mayor Lana Mook told the newspaper that annexation would allow some control over operations and that some control (from one of the neighboring communities) was better than no control. City Council members canceled the meeting when the vote was to take place and allowed the proposal to expire.
Want to know how much concrete is needed for a job? There’s an app for that. Graniterock Co. recently released an updated version of a free iPhone application to help construction workers estimate the amount of materials needed for their projects. “We are a brick and mortar industry and maybe a little slow to adapt to new things,” company spokesman Keith Severson told the Monterey County Herald. But, he added, “We’re not old in spirit.” The original app was released in the spring; the new version boasts upgraded graphics. An Android version of the app is expected to be available soon.
Meyer Material Co. recently filed a petition with the village of Cary seeking a four-year extension to its 2008 contract with the village. The Northwest Herald reports that the company agreed to pay the village $6.25 million over a 10-year window in exchange for permission to move its gravel pit beyond the Algonquin border. The company said that stagnant sales of sand and gravel would prohibit it from completing extraction, reclamation, and conveyance of the lands in a timely manner. Under the 2008 agreement, the company would owe the village $100,000 for every month it goes past the deadline. At Aggregates Manager press time, the village had not responded to the request.
The North Aurora Village Board unanimously rejected Lafarge North America’s request to extend its aggregate mine beneath two 200-foot-wide electrical utility rights of way. According to The Beacon News, homeowners have complained about mine blasts shaking their houses and cracking their walls and foundation, however, Lafarge attorney Bruce Goldsmith told trustees that the mine has never violated village or federal limits on noise levels or vibrations from underground blasting. He noted that blasts near a 30-inch-wide natural gas line running through the right of way where the company hoped to mine would not damage the pipe, and local utility officials had approved the work, as long as they monitored vibration levels around the pipe using a seismograph. The attorney’s arguments did not persuade board members who rejected the proposal.
The Telegraph-Herald reports the Prairie du Chien City Council voted 8-to-2 to greenlight an agreement that would allow Prairie Sand and Gravel Co. to build docks and boat slips along the river wall of St. Feriole Island. The docks will go up in 2012 on a one-year trial basis, with a number of conditions. The docks can’t be placed before May 1 and must be removed by Oct. 12. There can’t be any overnight docking, and the docks must be removed at the request of the city if the river level goes above 15.5 feet, a half-foot below flood stage. The company must also purchase a $1 million liability insurance policy.
By a slim 3-to-2 vote, a new gravel pit was permitted, and the expansion of an existing pit was granted. The Free Press reports that the two Mankato pits faced opposition from seven people who testified against the proposal, however owner/operator Pete Forrey prevailed in his effort to expand local aggregate supplies. The new mine is 38.86 acres and will be mined in 10-acre segments. The second site, at Hard Rock Quarry, received permission to expand the existing site by 18.25 acres.
In late October, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak hosted a trio of public meetings in Henderson. According to The Associated Press, the meetings were related to Service Rock Products and Cemex’s proposal to mine 1 square mile of federal Bureau of Land Management property in the Sloan Hills area over the next 20 years. The first hour of each meeting was an open house with specialists to answer questions, followed by a 30-minute presentation of the project and 90 minutes of public comment.
The town of Winchester’s planning board faces a legal challenge to its handling of Mitchell Sand and Gravel’s new asphalt plant. The Keene Sentinel reports that four residents filed an appeal of the planning board’s decision in Cheshire County Superior Court. They allege the board failed to enforce some of the 23 conditions it placed when granting permission for the asphalt plant earlier this year. The town must file a written appearance form this month and has until Jan. 6, 2012, to respond to the appeal.
Appellate justices again upheld a Supreme Court ruling nullifying the town of Nassau’s law banning commercial mining. According to The Times Union, the town re-appealed the justices’ March decision with information omitted in the original argument, but failed to sway the justices. Troy Sand & Gravel, the producer who has been involved in the eight-year dispute on mining rights, asked the court to render its special-use permit after their prolonged permitting efforts. The justices, however, noted that neither the town nor the town’s local laws provide for a default approval of a special-use permit when the town doesn’t comply with the appropriate time periods.
An attorney for Dolomite Products Co., a part of Callanan Industries Inc., said she hopes that its plan for an asphalt plant on Route 67 will be on the town planning board’s December agenda. The Saratogian reports that the company filed an application with the Zoning Board because it needs a height variance to construct the plant, which is estimated to be 70 feet tall. If approved, the plant would begin the environmental impact review process. It would also need approval from the state Historic Preservation Office for archaeology issues, the newspaper reports.
Gravel mining could begin soon in Thurston County after an adversarial citizens’ group announced that it would not appeal a court decision allowing Maytown Sand and Gravel to mine the site. The Olympian reports that Friends of Rocky Prairie gave up its lengthy battle after a local judge ruled that it lacked standing to challenge a county land-use decision regarding the site. A spokesperson for the group said it would have needed a million dollars to cover a bond necessary to move the appeal forward. Port of Tacoma Commission President Connie Bacon told the newspaper that the public entity appreciated that the courts agreed with its legal assertions, but was discouraged by the amount of unnecessary time and money (estimates show the port’s costs to range up to $2 million) incurred through the legal challenges.
Eau Claire County officials are considering an increase in mining fees to offset the costs associated with reviewing an anticipated increase in applications for silica sand mines. According to The Leader-Telegram, the county Finance and Budget Committee recommended the County Board increase its $35-per-acre charge to review proposed mines’ reclamation plans. The proposal would increase costs for a one- to five-acre mine to $200, while any mine larger than 102 acres would cost $7,000. The committee also recommended that public hearing fees be increased from $150 to $250. Buffalo County is also considering an increase in fees for new mines in that county.
The Red Cedar Town Board voted 4-to-1 to send a proposed sand processing plant to Dunn County officials for their consideration, The Leader-Telegram reports. Radnor, Pa.-based Preferred Sands wants to build a 160-acre plant near the northeast corner or Menomonie. If approved, it would process sand from its own mines.
Sudbury (Ontario) city council members approved a proposal to ask the province to impose a levy on mining companies using municipal roads to haul material. According to cbc.ca, the online arm of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Councilor Andre Rivest proposed a system of royalties, similar to those already paid by sand and gravel companies, with profits going toward road repair. The city will now approach the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to lobby for a change in provincial law.