December 9, 2015

BNI Coal brings new venture to commission

By Annette Tait
While removing the over-layer in the new mining area, BNI Coal recently discovered a significant quantity of silica-based sandstone with a hardness suitable for use as rip rap and road material, as well as other possible uses. In addition to using the rock onsite, BNI will be delivering a quantity of the rock to a customer near Stanton and is also looking at the potential to sell the rock to other customers in the region.
BNI Environmental Manager Jay Volk appeared before the county commission to provide information about the rock, and enter into discussion about the possibility of obtaining overweight permits to haul heavier loads, and other road-related concerns or requirements. BNI and the commissioners discussed the current condition of county roadways, the effect of overweight loads on pavement, the potential volume of truck traffic, the need for dust control, and blading that would be needed to maintain gravel roads.
BNI’s purpose in entering into discussion with the commission is to determine whether it will be feasible to pursue sale of the rock. If an agreement is reached between BNI and the commission for hauling quantities of the rock over county roads, and BNI determines to move forward with sale of the rock, the new revenue stream for BNI will also translate into tax revenue for Oliver County.
County roads
Jim Jackson, KLJ, reported that survey crews are finishing work on Hensler Road, and noted that, with the road widening, there may be a steeper tie-in to the existing rights-of-way. The steeper tie-in was recommended instead of purchasing additional right-of-way to allow for a more gradual slope. KLJ expects to let bids for the paving project in April 2016.
Jackson also recommended that a representative from the commission participate in upcoming online training provided by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, to be prepared for infrastructure discussions during the upcoming legislative session. UGPTI was responsible for collecting information for the asset inventory used to help set state funding levels during the 2014 session.

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