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Allegheny Mineral working smarter, not harder with plant

By |  October 3, 2022
Allegheny Mineral’s Jonathan Kolbe describes the Bison Plant’s twin 8-ft. x 24-ft. quad-deck screens from Deister Machine Co. as “absolute monsters.” Photo: Allegheny Mineral

Allegheny Mineral’s Jonathan Kolbe describes the Bison Plant’s twin 8-ft. x 24-ft. quad-deck screens from Deister Machine Co. as “absolute monsters.” Photo: Allegheny Mineral

About a decade ago, Allegheny Mineral Corp. leaders began to discuss the idea of mining aggregate reserves that resided across a highway from their nearby Worthington Plant.

A major obstacle ahead of the 2017 opening of Allegheny Mineral’s Bison Plant, however, was reaching untapped reserves in Worthington, Pennsylvania. Accessing them required Allegheny Mineral to mine underground – a proposition it had no prior experience with at other limestone facilities.

“There’s a big unknown when you haven’t worked underground,” says Jonathan Kolbe, the vice president of production at Allegheny Mineral who has been with the company more than 16 years. “That’s why it was so important to build a team we were comfortable with – one that had a lot of experience not just in underground, but in mining this seam. The folks we brought on board had experience in the Vanport seam underground in the area. That gave us a level of confidence that was reassuring.”

For their plant, Allegheny Mineral leaders sought a sizable area where materials could be stockpiled. Company leaders were also intent on minimizing load and carry on the surface while putting tools and technologies in place to elevate efficiencies.

Ultimately, the starting point for the plant Allegheny Mineral leaders wanted was Process Machinery, an equipment dealer and service provider based in Shelbyville, Kentucky, offering customized and complete processing plants.

“We had seen a facility Process Machinery built and really just loved the engineering of it and the attention to detail,” Kolbe says.

In its five years, Kolbe says the Bison Plant has lived up to Allegheny Mineral’s expectations.

“We’ve built plants before where a year into it you’re upgrading motors or belt size,” Kolbe says. “With some plants, you get a low [cost] number – and there’s a reason it’s a lower number. It’s just what you need to get by.

“We haven’t done any of that here,” he adds. “Everything is sized with room to grow right out of the gate. I think it’s the Cadillac of plants.”

Plant components

Nordberg HP400 cone crushers handle the Bison Plant’s secondary and tertiary crushing. Photo: Allegheny Mineral

Nordberg HP400 cone crushers handle the Bison Plant’s secondary and tertiary crushing. Photo: Allegheny Mineral

Still, before material is processed on the surface at the Bison Plant, a number of measures are taken underground to prepare it for crushing, screening and washing.

“Our Hazemag feeder breaker’s down there,” Kolbe says. “We basically load and carry. Because the roof is only 17 ft. high, we’re not able to load trucks and dump like some of these other great big underground quarries. We use a Volvo 350 paired with a Cat 980 to bucket the material over to the feeder breaker and dump it in. It gets hit once, goes up into the surge pile and comes up a belt for further crushing.”

Once on the surface, Allegheny Mineral relies on a pair of Nordberg HP400 cone crushers from Metso for secondary and tertiary crushing. Deister Machine Co. screens are also present within the plant, including three quad-deck screens.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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