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Washington Monument stone supplier welcomes visitors attending AGG-1 2015 in Baltimore

AGG-1-2015-009by Jon M. Casey

For AGG-1 2015 attendees who were looking for a “hands-on” experience while attending this year’s event in Baltimore, the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association offered a pre-show tour of the Bluegrass Materials Company’s Texas Quarry in Cockeysville, MD. Located 16 miles north of downtown Baltimore, this century old facility is surrounded by suburban living in every direction. Nevertheless, this facility has been a good neighbor, especially under the new ownership of Bluegrass Materials Company.

Texas Quarry (for which there is no exact explanation as to how it got that name), is located in what is called The Limestone Valley of central Maryland. The quarry has been called Texas since 1850 when it was officially received that moniker in December of that year. It is thought that that the local residents wanted to commemorate their local enlistees in the Mexican War who went off to serve in the “Texas Greens,” a group who fought for Texas independence.

The Limestone Valley rock formation, of which Texas is a part, is a high quality Dolomitic Marble. This rock provides excellent shape characteristics for concrete and asphalt mix designs as well as base materials. The material mined as aggregates, has a distinctive off white color.

There is a high quality deposit of calcium carbonate material within the pit as well. It is currently being mined by IMERYS Performance Materials. Their products are crushed and processed by IMERYS before going to the health and beauty industry for items like toothpaste or for paint pigment material. Currently, IMERYS produces approximately 250,000 tons per year of this high quality material.

The host for our half day tour, Ted Baker, CEO of Bluegrass Materials, Inc., welcomed the group by saying that Texas is the flagship quarry for Bluegrass Materials in Maryland. It is one of nine locations in the area. At 515 acres, the site is formidable.

Started in the late 1700’s to early 1800’s the original quarry supplied stone for the Washington Monument and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, DC. Material from Texas, Beaver Dam and Cockeysville, three of the company’s locations in the area, can be found in Baltimore’s City Hall, The State House in Annapolis and in parts of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, NY.

Jake Weber, plant manager, served as our tour guide. Weber noted that the facility produces approximately 25,000 tons per day during a production year. While we were visiting however, the plant was still closed for winter shutdown because all of the material mined at Texas is washed material. They currently run from late March to mid-April until around Thanksgiving. During the winter, there is no production other than pulling from stockpiled products. Weber said in 2014, the plant produced approximately three million tons of material, shipping approximately 2.6 million tons to locations in Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, West Virginia and the Carolinas. At its peak, the plant produced between 4.4 and 4.5 million tons per year.

He said the company has three CAT 980’s and a new WA 500 in the sales yard. They also run two CAT 992s and six CAT 777 haul trucks in the pit. Normal production runs 2500 tons per hour through the primary. The primary is a 54-74 gyratory onto a 60-inch steel cable belt up to two top screens making CR6, type 1 Rip Rap and the remainder goes to the large surge pile which contains approximately 100,000 tons of storage.

The processing plant is fed from the surge pile via one large feeder that supplies material to the secondary crusher, an 84-inch Hydrocone. From there material is screened producing 3’s and 4’s when needed, or it moves on to the tertiary crushers, two 15-60 Omnicones, with a Raptor 400 as a tertiary crusher. From there, material goes to a dry screen tower before heading on to the wet screen part of the plant. He said because the limestone is reasonably soft, they get about seven years on a set of liners in the primary crusher and about five years out of the secondary crushers. All the material is washed.

A new addition to the plant that was currently under construction is the new C33 plant. Material will be conveyed to a double screw 54-inch McLanahan unit that will feed material to a dewatering screen where we will make our C33. The slurry will go to a Derrick 36-foot Clarifier thickener tank and then to a press BDP Press roll to make Ag Lime that will be shipped to the Carolinas. Overs will be recirculated to the Jadairs for further processing as part of the closed loop system. The C33s will routinely go to New Jersey. Washed 57s for concrete are 42 percent of sales.

Weber said the site still holds 150 million tons of reserves. Crushing in the pit runs on one 10 hour shift with the processing done by two shifts in the finishing plant. The evening shift does the stockpiling.

Currently, there are 35 hourly employees onsite with five salaried workers plus those in the corporate offices, which brings the overall total to around 65. During production, the team works five 10 hour days. Most importantly, the Texas Quarry is noted for not having a lost time accident since April 2011.


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