Basalite looking to move mine plant
November 9, 2008
Basalite Concrete Products will have to wait a bit before they can move their rock products operatiion from the front of their Mark Twain mine to the back.
The company, which has its offices and a plant in Carson City, had requested a zoning change from Estates to Heavy Industrial on 77 acres they own behind their mine off of Pine Nut Road in Mark Twiain, so they could move the plant out of sight from the residences, and out of the wind, which is causing enough dust issues to attract the notice of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Basalite’s parent company, Pacific Coast Building Products, also sought a zone change on 640 acres they purchased adjacent to the 77, as a buffer between the plant and area residences.
They originally sought a zone change to Forestry, but Storey County Building and Planning Administrator Dean Haymore said he recommended the change to Heavy Industrial for the 640, in case they wanted to move their Carson City plant to Storey County.
However, several Mark Twain residents objected on the grounds they were not notified of the zone change applications.
Victoria Hansen, of Mark Twain, said the residents were concerned about how much water the plant would use, as well as how much would be used should any other industrial business move in.
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“If you change it to industrial and this company decides not to sell, but to sell to another company,” she said. “It would give them a carte blanche attitude they can do what they want. If you keep it forestry it forces them to come back (to the commission).”
Kyle Holt, plant manager for the company, thinks moving the Basalite concrete plant operation behind the mine, which has been in operation for 65 years, begun before there were any homes in the area, would be better for the community. He said if it is moved, residents wouldn’t have to see it, it would improve dust control and actually use less water than is being used now, since the wind would be less of a problem with a mountain range to protect the site.
Holt said the company has been under pressure from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to do something about the dust that blows off the mountain when the Sierra winds come streaming through the Dayton Valley.
He said the plans were to hollow out a canyon behind the operatino and move the plant their, to protect it from the wind blowing dust off the face of the mountain, which is now being reseeded with a hydroseeder the company built from scratch, to mitigate the dust problem.
Haymore supported the zone change so the plant could be moved behind the mine.
“I have been working with Basalite for 10 years to mitigate dust problems,” he said. “They want to mitigate effects of mining on surrounding area.”
Leslie Blomquist of PCBP said there were no plans to move the Carson City plant, which had recently been expanded, and agreed to provide the water data the residents requested.
Haymore said he would rather have the Basalite plant in that area than about 60 residences that could have been built had the property been sold to a developer of residential homes, because the plant would use less water. Basalite manufactures concrete and other rock-related material.
Resident Tom Zachry, who lives nearest the plant, said he was not concerned about the changes.
“These people are really good neighbors,” he said. “I don’t want houses there. I’m concerned about my water, too. This will be better for us than if there is 60 houses on this property. The mine is going to be here anyway.”
Haymore also said the plan would aid the mine in the reclamation of the mountain, which will be taken down in about 200 years.
The mine has been working since 2001 to create “benches” or steppes along the mountain, to fight dust and erosion after getting the material they need, Holt said. Basalite is also working on an aggressive re-seeing process where they lay down a bed of mulch made from wood byproducts, followed by seeds.
Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or call 881-7351.
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