Rock Products

NOV 2014

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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Page 13 of 61 ROCK products • NOVEMBER 2014 10 IN THE KNOW IN THE KNOW I N D U S T R Y N E W S In addition to quotes on near term projects, Highbank is working on se‐ curing business well into the future. Negotiations are underway to supply 2 million tons of aggregate for a pipeline project scheduled to begin construction late in 2016 or early 2017. "Our business plan is based on existing projects," said Bryant. While three quarters of Highbank's ag‐ gregate is destined for concrete, there is also significant demand for road build‐ ing and soil stabilization. "We can run a very profitable business as is, and when LNG construction begins, that will be bonus," added Bryant. Even before LNG projects get under‐ way, a great deal of infrastructure will need to be built. A substantial in‐ crease in the region's workforce, both during construction and opera‐ tion of the pipelines and terminals, will require housing, retail, recre‐ ation and support facilities. The Port of Prince Rupert is undergoing a massive infrastructure expansion, al‐ ready valued in excess of $40 billion. Availability of transportation corri‐ dors is an extremely important factor for marketability of aggregates. The SPN mine is located on the east side of the Portland Canal fjord on tide‐ water. Existing year round deep‐ water ports are located 38 miles north at Stewart and 72 miles south at Prince Rupert. This gives High‐ bank a major competitive advantage with the ability to ship product by high capacity barge, the company said. The completion of the processing plant and load‐out facility will place Highbank in the position of being the nearest, significant, quality construc‐ tion aggregate deposit to the Port of Prince Rupert and the other con‐ struction projects in the Northwest, according to the company. U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez invited a select group of aggregates ex‐ ecutives for a frank dialogue on the key issues facing the industry. At the Oct. 20 meeting, representatives from the Na‐ tional Stone, Sand and Gravel Associa‐ tion (NSSGA), aggregates producers, and state aggregates associations stressed the need for increased infra‐ structure investment to grow the econ‐ omy and create jobs, and continued collaboration to improve mine safety. "We had a great conversation," said Michael W. Johnson, president and CEO of NSSGA, in an exclusive interview with Rock Products after the event. "Secre‐ tary Perez truly believes that if we are going to get our economy back on track, we need to invest in infrastructure. He was very specific that he would be a powerful advocate for a long‐term high‐ way bill, investing in America and cre‐ ating jobs." The meeting was spearheaded by the Department of Labor's Assistant Secre‐ tary for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main. "We discussed our shared goals of creating good safe jobs and rebuilding America's infrastructure for the future," Main said. "An infrastructure bill in Con‐ gress would serve both goals by estab‐ lishing a long‐term budget for needed building and repair. It is estimated that this bill would support millions of new jobs, including many in the industries represented at the roundtable." While infrastructure was foremost on the mind of attendees, safety wasn't far behind. "In recent years, all of us at the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration have worked hard to expand our outreach and com‐ munications with industry stakehold‐ ers, including the metal and nonmetal mining sectors," Main said. "Since the start of my term five years ago, we have worked to improve consistency and clarify expectations in enforcement, and collaborated on training and outreach projects such as our initiatives on ma‐ chine guarding and ladder safety, which have resulted in significant improve‐ ments in mine safety." Producers in attendance agreed. Many of them noted that things are getting better, citations are down, and educa‐ tion and training are important compo‐ nent of that. In addition, the consensus among aggregates producers around the table was that MSHA needs to invig‐ orate its small mines program to reach many operations outside of the realm of national and state associations. Another topic discussed was creating a workforce to meet future demand. Some of the ideas dissected were how to increase the hiring of veterans, work‐ ing closer with job centers and creating a database designed to match people with jobs. Labor Secretary Holds Aggregates Industry Roundtable FAST FACT A select group of aggre- gates executives engaged the secretary in a frank dialogue on the key is- sues facing the industry.

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