CARY – Whether the Meyer Material Co. will ask for more time to mine at its Cary location most likely won’t be known until the last year of scheduled mining operations, company officials said.
The company recently gave its annual update of mining operations in Cary along Route 31 to Village Board members.
Under the contract in place, mining is to be completed by 2016, with restoration work to be finished by 2018. The company, in recent years with the economy struggling, had asked for an extension for mining operations until 2020 but later rescinded the request.
Gravel sales have remained steady for the past few years at the Cary plant. However, the company has scaled back work in its Marengo and in McHenry plants, company officials said.
“We haven’t seen business pick up, but I think we got a little more efficient in dealing with the parts we have left,” said Randi Willie, the manager of environmental and land services for Meyer. “We’re working feverishly to continue to deliver this project on time.”
Village trustees asked the Meyer representatives if and when they would come back to the board to request more time to mine.
“You’re asking when we would know; I’m taking a guess in saying it probably wouldn’t be until the last year,” Willie said.
He said that as the company moves north in its mine, minerals are expected to be harder to get to as the topsoil and overburden becomes thicker.
“I don’t think we will know that until probably the last year; that’s when we’re going to get into the worst conditions for overburden versus quality material,” Willie said.
Willie said the company is trying to accumulate and store as much material as possible.
“We’ve done some math in-house,” Willie said. “I think our foot is off the panic button, but we certainly can’t promise we’ll get everything out the way we want to on time, but we’re striving. We’re looking at ways to get more material under the tunnel, to the other side, knowing that we’re not going to sell that much over the next three years, but can we get all of it underneath there and stockpile it? That’s the goal right now.”
Willie added that the company is producing more material than it sells.
Sales out of the plant have been flat over the past three years and only doing about 1 million tons a year, Willie said.
Ron Raupp, the plant manager, said Meyer has not run its Marengo plant for two years, and production in McHenry has been cut back, “so we could start moving stuff north into the McHenry area.”
The McHenry plant used to produce 2 million tons a year, and is now at 800,000 tons a year, Raupp said.