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Asphalt Plants Permit Disputed

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a report last month finding the Grist Creek Aggregates asphalt plant to be in willful and ongoing violation of several air emissions regulations, as well as finding unpermitted equipment at the site and confusion over the plant’s ownership, according to the Willits News. Prior to the CARB investigation, the asphalt plant has been fined more than $173,000 in penalties for permit and emissions violations during the commercial asphalt production that began late September, and received the first notice of violation from the Mendocion County Air Quality Management District on Oct. 22.

The notices of violation state the plant is in violation of several state and federal laws concerning ongoing air emissions and the Public Health and Safety code. It has been deemed a public nuisance for impacts on surrounding parcels, as well as for continued operation of equipment not included in the original permits.

Lawsuits are now pending on both sides. Friends of Outlet Creek are alleging lack of environmental review of the project during the permitting process. On Nov. 6 Grist Creek Aggregates filed suit against the county’s air district in Mendocino County Superior Court over the notice of violation.

MGX Receives Bulk Sample Permit

MGX Minerals Inc. reported that the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines has granted the company a Bulk Sample Permit under Section 17(3) of the Mineral Tenure Act Regulation, which authorizes MGX to extract a 100-ton sample of mineralized material from the Driftwood Creek magnesium project. The bulk sample will be mined, crushed and shipped to the laboratories of Industrial Furnace Co. (IFCO) in Rochester, N.Y., for pilot plant testing. MGX signed a Memorandum of Understanding in June to acquire calcining equipment specifically for Driftwood Creek.

Results of pilot plant testing will determine final specifications to optimize the design and construction parameters of industrial-sized kilns to process mineralized material from Driftwood Creek. MGX also plans to make representative samples of caustic calcined magnesia (CCM) and dead-burned magnesia (DBM) available to potential customers for further evaluation. MGX aims to provide a secure, long-term supply of magnesium oxide to the North American market.

Singleton Stone Kankakee Update

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Illinois should get a chance to publicly object to a proposed quarry near the Kankakee River in Eagle Creek Township, according to the Chicago Tribune. Meanwhile, the Indiana branch of the agency said that while work is underway at Singleton Stone LLC, whether that work is permitted remains at issue.

Paul Leffler, with the Army Corps of Engineers, said the U.S. EPA is requiring the Illinois EPA to review the project and determine whether or not it is concerned about the effect the quarry will have on Illinois. The Illinois agency has 60 days from Oct. 13 to complete its review.

While the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has issued the required Section 401 permit, the U.S. EPA referenced a little-used statute in the Clean Water Act – Section 401 A 2 – that gives the EPA authority to consider downstream impact to other states. Leffler said that permit should have been applied for before work began.

U.S. Concrete Acquires Permitted Reserves

U.S. Concrete announced that it acquired the Wantage Stone reserves, a site development quarry including an 80-acre land parcel along with mining rights to an additional 77 acres of land located in Hamburg, N.J. The company has operated the quarry under a lease agreement since October 2014.

The Wantage Stone reserves will continue to enhance U.S. Concrete’s ability to serve the northern New Jersey and New York metropolitan markets with a combined 19 million tons of proven and permitted reserves and a further 19 million tons of unpermitted, yet available additional reserves, the company said. The reserve position and increased production capacity strengthens the company’s mix of internally supplied aggregates and aggregates sales to new and existing customers.

“The acquisition of these aggregate assets is directly aligned with our strategic objectives to expand our construction material operations and strengthen our vertically integrated capabilities,” said President and CEO William J. Sandbrook. “Furthermore, this quarry provides an extremely rare opportunity, due to permitting restrictions, of opening a new quarry in northern New Jersey. Our balance sheet strength and extensive operational experience in aggregate operations allowed us to complete this very attractive addition to our aggregate reserve position. This is another step forward for our company as we continue to grow our regional market share, source vertically integrated operational synergies and improve our overall profitability.”