State and Province News January 2012
Oak Ledge Properties withdrew its application to continue activities on its 77-acre site in East Haven. The New Haven Register reports that the developer had planned a mixed-use development, but withdrew its application on the same day a new application would be due to extend its current operations. The planning and zoning commission chairman told the newspaper that the developer no longer can conduct blasting or crushing. It is now limited to selling stockpiles of crushed stone already on the property.
The Bangor Planning Board unanimously approved a request from Randy Gardner to expand his 6.98-acre quarry operation by an additional 5.25 acres. According to the Bangor Daily News, the board also extended the operation’s conditional-use and site development permits for three more years. It did, however, limit operating hours to 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Some neighboring residents expressed disappointment over the decision, but several sent letters of support to the city planning officer.
The Mississippi Supreme Court ordered the city of Batesville to take another look at a request from Memphis Stone and Gravel to operate a gravel pit in the southern part of Jackson. The Associated Press reports that its decision reversed earlier decisions by the state Court of Appeals and a Panola County judge. Justice Ann Lamar said the court could not determine from the case record how the city reached its conclusion that the pit would be legal and added that the board of aldermen should allow both the operator and its opponents to present evidence to support their positions. Finally, she said the aldermen should then provide more specifics on whatever conclusion it reaches.
St. John Enterprises said it plans to invest $32 million to upgrade Madison Parish Port Commission facilities in Tallulah, La., and to create approximately 450 jobs over the next five years, Workboat reports. The plant was expected to be online and delivering two new barges by late February. According to St. John CEO Ron Lewis, he has a contract to build six new 195- by 35-foot deck barges for a sand and gravel customer.
At Aggregates Manager’s press time, plans for Tiller Corp.’s proposed Zavoral mine were under review. The company is seeking permission for extraction and hauling, followed by reclamation. It does not plan to wash or process material on the site. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Scandia’s project advisory committee planned to review a preliminary draft of Tiller’s environmental impact statement. The 64-acre pit has not been mined since the 1980s.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a proposal that would allow five operators to dredge an additional 1 million tons of sand and gravel from the Kansas River each year and increase the number of dredging sites. According to The Kansas City Star, the companies can currently dredge 2.2 million tons of sand and gravel from 10 sites. Those same companies — including Kaw Valley Cos., Holliday Sand & Gravel, Penny’s Aggregates, Master’s Dredging, and Meier’s Ready Mix — want to dredge 3.2 million tons a year from 13 sites. Some environmentalists are speaking out against the proposal. A spokesman for the Corps said it will take a year for its decision process to be complete.
Mining engineering students at the Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed an interesting fundraiser: fright nights at S&T’s Experimental Mine. The university reports that The Haunted Mine has been held every year since 1997 and serves as the main fundraiser for mining engineering activities and student organizations. Mining engineering students volunteer to work at the event and earn funds for the organization of their choice, including the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration; Women in Mining; the International Society for Explosives Engineers; and the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association; as well as the university’s mine rescue and mucking teams.
Gov. Brian Sandoval named Steve Hill as director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The Associated Press reports that one of his main tasks will be to develop a state economic development plan and criteria for the designation of regional development authorities. Hill is a former vice president of CalPortland and served as a member of Sandoval’s transition team.
Work has begun on the last remaining portions of the Las Vegas Beltway. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Paving began work on the 7-mile, $117 million project after more than a year in delays. Fisher Sand and Gravel filed a federal lawsuit when its $112.2 million bid was rejected and alleged that commissioners were biased toward union companies. Las Vegas Paving is a union company. The dispute was settled when the county agreed to pay Fisher $5 million to walk away from the project. Las Vegas Paving is paying a portion of the settlement, with the remainder coming from interest earned on the project funding that has been held in escrow since 2009.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a permit for Elam Sand and Gravel Corp.’s mine in West Bloomfield. It is seeking permission to operate a 45-acre parcel. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports the operator still needs a special-use permit from the town of West Bloomfield. The town has adopted a moratorium on new special-use permits, and the company has filed lawsuits to force the town to void the moratorium and act on its permit application.
Vulcan Materials Co.’s charitable foundation made a $25,000, five-year pledge to Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham on behalf of its Rockingham Quarry employees and families. According to the Richmond County Daily Journal, the donation will help fund the children’s museum, which is designed to stimulate adventure in learning and stimulating play. “Supporting educational programs is one example of Vulcan’s commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen in the communities in which we operate,” Plant Manager Charles Heatherly told the newspaper. “Supporting Discovery Place KIDS is a natural extension of our educational and stewardship initiatives, and we look forward to being a part of their exciting programs in this community.”
Summit Materials made a series of acquisitions in Texas, including Industrial Asphalt, Inc., Asphalt Paving Co. of Austin, Inc., and Ramming Paving Co., Ltd. The acquisition includes quarries, asphalt plants, and paving services. “We are very pleased to welcome the new companies and their employees to Summit,” Tom Hill, former CEO of Oldcastle, Inc. and current CEO of Summit Materials, said in a press release. “These businesses are a great combination, and together with RK Hall in northeast Texas, they expand Summit’s presence in the state.” Since it was formed in 2009, Summit Materials has completed 20 acquisitions.
Wm. Dickson Co. has been fined $24,000 by the Washington State Department of Ecology for discharging sediment-laden water in a storm drain that emptied into a salmon-bearing creek. According to the state agency, the operator’s permit limits the amount of turbidity that the gravel operation can discharge and prohibits any discharge that violates the state’s water quality standards for turbidity. It found that the source of the turbid water was a hole in the bottom of the pit where a pump was used to dewater the pit excavation over a bank into a creek. The operator said he plans to update his site management plan to prevent future discharge of turbid water into Swan Creek.
The Eau Claire County Board adopted a moratorium that freezes frac sand mine development in the county for six months. According to The Leader-Telegram, the board voted 24 to 2 to approve the measure, which lasts until May 31. During that time, county officials say they plan to study the effects of sand mines on public health and the environment. Some supervisors sought quick passage of the moratorium because two sand mines have been proposed in the county during recent months. It impacts any company that had not begun mine construction as of Nov. 16.
A 31-year-old Northern Alberta quarry worker was killed on Nov. 7 after his arm was caught in a conveyor at Milestone Quarry, south of Fort McMurray. CBC News reports that the man was removing excess gravel when he was pulled into the conveyor’s rollers. A stop work order was issued at Surmont Sand and Gravel while investigators for Occupational Health and Safety investigated the incident.