CEMEX Continues Fight for Soloedad Canyon Project

The decades-long battle over a CEMEX aggregates operation in the Santa Clarita Valley in California is far from over, even though the company’s second 10-year mining contract officially expired on July 31.

CEMEX requested a one-year extension of the mining contract at Soloedad Canyon, a request that was denied by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), according to the city of Santa Clarita.

CEMEX is proposing a 56 million net ton sand and gravel mine near the junction of Agua Dulce Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road. The mine would encompass 490 acres with a split estate.

The BLM said that CEMEX did not show that the delay in removing mineral materials was beyond their control and referenced the company’s failure to “complete steps necessary to begin mining” and “make in lieu payments on the contract,” according to the city.

“CEMEX is disappointed by the decisions from the Interior Board of Land Appeals,” the company said in a statement. “As part of vigorously pursuing all of its rights with respect to the Soledad Canyon Project, CEMEX previously filed suit in the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., to reverse the BLM’s unlawful determinations with respect to the CEMEX contracts and have the contracts reinstated. CEMEX has been successful in defeating prior legal challenges to the project. CEMEX believes the process in Federal Court will also be successful, which will allow the development of the Soledad Canyon Project as has been approved by numerous environmental reviews. The Soledad Canyon Project is important to the development and infrastructure of California, providing a local source of high-quality aggregate reserves to help meet the high demand of sand and gravel in a rapidly-growing part of the state.”

Luck Stone Quarry May Become Lake

A Luck Stone Corp. quarry along Route 29 in Centreville, Va., is seeking to not just renew its permit, but amend it to implement a reclamation plan as it winds down work in the north pit, according to Connection to Your Community. “There are approximately 15 years’ worth of mineral reserves left in the north pit,” said attorney Andrew Painter, representing Luck Stone. “But Luck Stone can’t simply walk away and turn off the lights.”

Luck Stone is proposing to create a manmade, 20-acre, surface lake, about 50 ft. deep, to replace the north pit. He said that if Luck Stone didn’t do anything with the pit, it would turn into a lake that would be way too deep. This way, said Painter, “It could be used for future recreational use.”

Sully District Council’s Jay Johnston said he didn’t like the idea of Luck Stone turning the north pit into a lake, instead of a county reservoir, as had been previously considered. “We don’t know where the fill materials [for that lake] are coming from,” he said. “Only one of every 300 truckloads would be tested for [possible] contaminants.”

The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals deferred its decision to Oct. 7. 

Colorado Gravel Operation Seeks Permits

According to Summit Daily, Peak Materials has submitted a permit application to the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety to create a gravel mine at the 75-acre Hillyard property north of Silverthorne, Colo.

The project has been met with adamant resistance from Friends of the Lower Blue River and Lower Blue Residents United. The mining company announced the submission of the permit application Aug. 6, nearly two years after the community open house where the project was last discussed publicly.

In addition to the state permit, Peak Materials needs two permits from Summit County: one to mine or extract materials on the property as well as one to import the materials to the company’s Maryland Creek Ranch facility, about 11 miles south in Silverthorne. Summit County Senior Planner Dan Osborn said applications for the local conditional use permits have not been submitted.

Joanna Hopkins, a representative for Peak Materials, said the project is necessary in order to continue to meet local construction demands and noted that the company has operated in Summit County for 55 years. She said the company had to find a new materials reserve, ideally in close proximity to the existing Maryland Creek Ranch facility.

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