The upper Midwest has seen a strong growth in the area of non-metallic mineral mining. Designing a new industrial sand-mining facility in the upper Midwest required diligent planning, land surveying, environmental permitting, rail design, and site design services.
The planning process began with a full inventory of existing conditions including topographic survey, wetland delineation, and mapping of sensitive areas. Several threatened and endangered species have been known to be found in the region where the project was constructed. To ensure protection of critical habitat for these species during the mining process, field surveys were conducted and a habitat mitigation plan was prepared. Design for the facility included the construction of a large fresh water basin to serve as a water supply source for the mining activities, as well as railroad spur lines for transfer and storage facilities. A comprehensive stormwater management plan was also prepared for the facility, including regular stormwater management inspections to comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permit throughout the duration of the construction process.
A critical component of a mining plan includes identification of how the area will be reclaimed after mining is complete. The reclamation plan includes preserving undisturbed areas of the property, re-vegetation with native plant species, and the creation of habitat for native animals and threatened and endangered species.
An Environmental Management System (EMS) was also developed for the facility. This manual identifies environmental objectives, training procedures, environmental monitoring, and emergency preparedness, among other environmental issues. This plan supports the intent to mine in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable fashion through a managed continual improvement process.