Rock Products

MAR 2019

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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26 • ROCK products • March 2019 Balcones This is the third in a three-part series on Cemex's Balcones Quarry in New Braunfels, Texas. Last month's article focused on the plant's production equipment. – Ed. C emex's vast Balcones quarry near New Braunfels, Texas, began operations in 1968 and is one of the top aggregate operations in the United States, producing approximately 10 to 12 million tons of limestone materials. The quarry cur- rently employs more than 100 people and is largest crushed stone quarry by production volume in the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Balcones Quarry, as you might imagine, uses a lot of water. In the arid expanses of the Lone Star State, that consumption was seen as untenable. So the company installed a new water recycling system that reflects commitment to sustainability by reducing reliance on local water sources and lowering operational costs. The system decreases the company's environmental impact and reliance on water pulled from nearby sources by using 90 percent less water annually than previously used by the quarry's wash plant. The new, fully-automated water recycling system uses and recycles 12,000 gal.-per-min. of water to separate aggre- gate sand fines, which are then reclaimed from the water stream as useable sand product. The water recycling system decreases the need for additional local water and adds effi- ciency to wash plant operations. Getting Started "We were building a new stone processing/wash plant and realized early on that we needed to supply the new wash plant with a reliable, high-volume source of good quality and consistent water," said Lance Griffin, director of aggregates – Texas and New Mexico Region. "I was chosen to lead that effort based on my past experience as a mining engineer and industry contacts." This was not a simple task. While some quarries might be able to get away with bolting on some strategic equipment to meet their needs, this project called for a large-scale effort. "We first approached the project on what we thought we were going to need in terms of water flow and water qual- ity," Griffin said. "In terms of options, we looked at equipment that might be available within the Cemex network. Along with seeing what equipment was available in the network, the thought was to design a plant using proven principles rooted in "old school" mentality. When thinking "old school" the idea was to utilize the time-honored principle of gravity. "Balcones designed the water recycling/sand plant and tried to utilize gravity flow where possible," Griffin said. "Ease of operation and maintenance, environmental compliance and expandability were all important considerations." Lots of Equipment The new wash plant features the following equipment: • Schurco slurry pumps. • National Pump vertical turbine pumps. • Red Valves pinch valves. • Paschal dry polymer system. • Abresist cyclones and piping. Balcones at 50: The 90 Percent Solution A New Water Recycling System at Cemex's Balcones Quarry Allows the Operation to Use 90 Percent Less Water Annually. By Mark S. Kuhar

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