ARM NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2013
The steady, quiet reclamationof the Nelson aggregate mine
Aggregate & Ready
Mix Association of Minnesota
The funny thing about aggregate minesis how invisible most of them aredespite their often massive size. Likecell towers, we live near them, drive by them, don’t notice them and can’t enjoy our lifestyles without them.The Nelson mine (or plant) operated by Aggregate Industries US is a greatexample. You can drive through CottageGrove and St. Paul Park to fish from aone-lane bridge on Grey Cloud Islandand all you hear is rippling water,rustling poplar leaves, and the songs of robins and sparrows. And yet, a mere half-mile from that bridge, is one of thelargest active aggregate mines inMinnesota.Each year and in all but the coldestmonths, about one million tons of sandand gravel is extracted from the 2000-acre site. It’s plopped onto a two-mileconveyor system; piled into 16-story heaps; crushed, washed and sorted, andscooped and carried to the MississippiRiver. There, barges are loaded for daily trips northward to St. Paul andMinneapolis where the sand and gravelis unloaded at Yard A and Yard D(respectively), piled 16 stories highagain, and scooped and poured intodump trucks on their way to ready mixplants and construction sites.“I start at Nelson where we put togetherfive barges and leave at 6:30 a.m.,” saidBarge Pilot Steve Plan. “We go up theriver to Larson (limestone mine) andpick up three more and finally arrive at Yard A (near downtown St. Paul) witheight barges five hours later.”The Nelson mine has operated this way since 1954 when the J.L. Shiely Company leased the land from theSchilling family of lower Grey CloudIsland. Eventually, AggregateIndustries US leased the property in thelate 1980s. A common aggregate mining practice iscreating a reclamation plan, describedin contracts with landowners andpermits with local governments.The Nelson plant is no different. Fromthe start, the landowner and aggregateproducers had plans to reclaim themine. Five years ago, the plans werechanged to restore the original ecotypethat Ojibway Indians would haverecognized 200 years ago.“Before European settlement, theecotype of Grey Cloud Island wasmostly oak savanna,” said BobBieraugel, manager of environmentaland land services for AggregateIndustries US Central Region. “For years, we planted hundreds of spruce,pines, ash, and locust trees with limitedsuccess. Aggregate Industries US andthe landowner enlisted the help of alocal nonprofit, Great River Greening,to develop an oak savanna plan.”
SME Twin Cities Annual ConferenceSept. 17 & 18
Silica Sand & ConstructionAggregate Resources of theUpper Midwest
is the title of the annual conference of theTwin Cities chapter of theSociety for Mining, Metal-lurgy & Exploration (SME).Conference topics include:•Silica sand mining•Permitting best practices•Minnesota mining updates•Mine operations andprocessing•Transportation, zoning,health and safety updatesThe conference, co-sponsored with ARM of Minnesota, is set forSeptember 17 and 18 at theEarle Brown Heritage Centerin Brooklyn Center.Learn more and register atwww.smetcannualconference.eventbrite.com
ARM has moved!
Our new address is 2955Eagandale Blvd., Eagan, MNOur PO Box and phonehaven’t changed.