Rock Products - The Leading Voice of the Aggregate Industries.

NIMBY up North

nimby2May 3, 2011 – There is a major NIMBY storm brewing in Canada. The Highland Companies is seeing local opposition to its proposed Melancthon Township, Ontario,  mega-quarry. The site is located in prime farmland in Ontario’s potato-growing region known for a rare type of soil that is particularly suited to potato cultivation, the locals say. If allowed to proceed it would reportedly be the second-largest U.S. owned quarry in Canada. “It will destroy productive farmland and threaten the headwaters of three important rivers – the Grand, the Nottawasaga and the Pine- water sources for one million people.” Carl Cosack, a local cattle and horse rancher told the local media. “200 ft. below the water table is deeper than Niagara Falls and will require the extraction of 600 million litres of water per day. They claim it will not have a negative impact, it’s simply not credible. The company application runs more than 3,100 pages, and took five years and 20 consulting firms to create. The public was given 45 days to respond." The Highand Companies disputes claims that its operation will have a negative environmental impact. Read its response here. Look for a full story in an upcoming issue of Rock Products.

Help for Alabama Tornado Victims

tornadoApril 28, 2011 – Ellen Smith, publisher of Mine Safety & Health News, and a health and safety contributor to Rock Products, is organizing a care-package project to help tornado victims in Alabama. Many of her subscribers, friends and family were affected, not to mention construction-materials companies in those areas. With help from an MSHA staff member, she has found a place to take "care package" donations The Red Cross will be making several pick-ups each day and distributing the packages to the areas in need. Donation items requested are: Bottled water, diapers, individually wrapped snacks, food and baby formula, as well as mouth wash, tooth paste and handi-wipes. Please send care packages to: Taylor Bug’s, 1355 Hueytown Road, Hueytown, AL 35023  205-491-2849. Best to use a U.S Postal Service Priority Mail box, and mark on the outside what is in it. Thanks for your help.

What's Up With Fuel Prices?

PumpsApril 26, 2011 – If you're a producer, your diesel prices are up. That ain't good. As fuel prices rise nationwide, the Obama administration announced last week the creation of a working group to investigate and prosecute suspected fraud in the energy markets. “There is no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away. But there are a few things we can do,” President Obama told a town hall meeting in Reno, Nev. Attorney General Eric Holder has assembled a team to monitor oil and gas markets for evidence of fraud or illegal manipulation that might affect gas prices, he said. “That includes the role of traders and speculators,” Obama added. “We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain,” he told the group. But a recent article on the blog The Infrastructurist is titled, "America's Low Gas Prices: A Global Perspective." You can pretty much figure out where that's going. The article also suggests that raising gas taxes is political suicide for whomever suggests it. That ain't good either. The beat goes on.

A Quarry with a Solar System

MarkWestApril 21, 2011 – California is a leader in the national effort to utilize more environmentally friendly forms of energy. So its no surprise that Santa Rosa, Calif.-based  BoDean Co.’s Mark West Quarry will make history on May 11 when they “flip the switch” and become the first quarry in the world to be 100 percent reliant on solar power. BoDean Co. owners, Belinda and Dean Soiland have made the BoDean Co. an industry leader in sustainability and eco-friendly mining operations. In addition to the use of solar, the company is also dedicated to the extensive use of recycled materials in its production process, as well as actively pursuing a managed reclamation plan that coincides with quarry operations. The Mark West Quarry photovoltaic system will be capable of generating 1,165,000 kilowatt hours of green energy per year.  The electricity produced by the solar panels will offset the release of 18,440,521 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, which is enough energy to power 160 typical American homes for a full year. Look for stories on this innovative operation in the May and June issue of Rock Products.

The Price is Nice

usgsApril 19, 2011 – USGS just released the updated Crushed Stone chapter for its ongoing Minerals Yearbook project. The new information, based on 2009 data, notes some interesting things with regard to aggregatesprices. More than 800 operations responded to the survey question concerning the dollar value of their production for the current and previous year. The average unit value for operations reporting production and value was $9.92 per metric ton in 2009. This was an increase of 3 percent compared with the average unit value of $9.66 per ton in 2008 – in line with what was in the annual reports of the top U.S. stone-producing companies. Prices in the chapter are the annual average free on-board plant prices, usually at the first point of sale or captive use, as reported by the crushed stone producing companies. This value does not include transportation from the plant or yard to the consumer. It does, however, include all costs of mining, processing, in-plant transportation, overhead costs and profit.