Lafarge Plant Moves Forward in Illinois

The board development committee in Kane County, Ill., has recommended a plan to expand sand and gravel mining operations onto existing farmland in Blackberry Township, according to the Aurora Beacon-News. Lafarge Aggregates is seeking a special use zoning permit from Kane County for an expansion of its sand and gravel mining operation on land zoned for farming at the southwest corner of Rowe Road and Route 47.

The petition for the expansion was postponed four times over the past several months to give nearby residents opposed to the project time to work through its issues with the company. About 50 residents established a negotiating team comprised of five members to discuss the issues with the company. There were five meetings with Lafarge and the neighbors outside the normal county process.

The vote by the Kane County Board Development Committee to recommend the planned expansion was 7-1. Lafarge agreed to a series of stipulations it will have to adhere to in order to proceed with the project, including items on air quality. Lafarge will install two dust monitors in two locations.

Wake Stone’s North Carolina Quarry Clears Hurdle

Superior Court Judge Graham Shirley ruled that the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority (RDUAA) in North Carolina acted within its rights when it awarded a lease to Wake Stone to expand a rock quarry near William B. Umstead State Park.

The Umstead Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek Natural Area, said the quarry will disturb park goers and plans to fight the ruling on appeal. “The proposed quarry represents a real threat to the priceless asset we have in Umstead State Park,” Umstead Coalition chairwoman Jean Spooner said in a release. “We believe RDUAA exceeded its authority by not obtaining the approval of the four local government deeded owners. Therefore, we will continue the fight on appeal.”

RDUAA will receive a percentage of sales from the crushed stone mined at the site. Wake Stone estimates that agreement will generate about $24 million dollars over the 30-year life of the quarry. In its long-term plan, the airport has some $2 billion worth of projects it wants to undertake, including a runway expansion project that would allow RDU to attract longer flights.

Knife River Gets Permit for Texas Quarry

Knife River Corp., the construction materials subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc., announced it has received a permit to begin operations at a strategic new aggregate quarry in Texas. The quarry contains an estimated 40-year supply of high-quality aggregates, enabling Knife River to self-supply a significant portion of the base materials it uses for construction as well as for the production of ready-mixed concrete and asphalt. The site will also be open to third-party sales.

The 570-acre property, known as the Honey Creek Quarry, is northwest of Austin in Burnet County, Texas. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has granted Knife River an Air Quality Standard Permit to construct a rock-crushing plant at the quarry. Knife River anticipates production at the site will begin in the third quarter of 2020.

“We purchased this land earlier this year with the strategic goal of being able to supply our own rock to our existing construction operations in Texas,” said David C. Barney, president and CEO of Knife River. “Vertical integration is a key component of Knife River’s business model. When the site is fully functional, we will be able to rail aggregates from Honey Creek to our facilities in Waco, Bryan/College Station and Beaumont. This is a great step forward for our Texas team.”

Objections Raised to California Quarry Reclamation Plan

Los Altos Hills, Calif., joined Los Altos, Calif., and Cupertino, Calif., as another objector to Lehigh Southwest Cement Co.’s request to amend its reclamation plan for Permanente Quarry in Cupertino, according to Los Altos Town Crier. Lehigh’s proposal to import up to 60 million tons of off-site construction soil to backfill a quarry instead of using the 48 million tons of mining waste on-site, as specified in the 2012 plan, is the point of contention.

Citing “significant changes” from the reclamation plan that Santa Clara County officials approved in 2012, Los Altos Hills City Manager Carl Cahill explained the town’s argument against the company’s application in a letter sent to the county planning department. “The application is detrimental to the Town’s natural resources and residents,” Cahill wrote in a Sept. 20 letter addressed to Robert Salisbury, county planner.

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