The latest at Cemex’s Balcones Quarry

By |  March 19, 2018

The fully automated water recycling system uses and recycles about 14,000 gallons of water per minute to separate sand fines. Photos by Kevin Yanik

It’s hard to fathom how one operation can produce 10 million to 12 million tons of crushed stone per year, but Cemex continues to do just that at its Balcones Quarry outside of San Antonio.

The downward view from atop the operation’s wash plant provides excellent perspective on the sheer volume of material moving out of this quarry, as trucks continuously pour into the plant from one direction while countless others navigate out through a wheel wash system.

In addition to truck loadout, Cemex sends aggregate out on unit trains from this New Braunfels, Texas, site that’s made up of 100 employees. Railed aggregate is shipped to distribution terminals in Houston, where Cemex’s ready-mix division serves as one of the quarry’s largest consumers of rail shipments.

Among the latest additions to the Balcones Quarry is a water recycling system separating aggregate sand fines that are reclaimed as a usable product. The state-of-the-art system, completed in 2016, uses 90 percent less water each year than the amount previously required by a wash plant.

According to Lance Griffin, Cemex’s director of aggregate operations for Texas and New Mexico, the plant recycles about 14,000 gallons per minute.

A wash plant consisting of Sandvik 660 cones, Syntron feeders, Deister screens, GIW and Schurco pumps, and Van der Graaf drum motors, among other components, is relatively new to the Balcones Quarry, as well. The plant produces about 20,000 finished tpd, Griffin says.

In terms of safety, Cemex recently instituted a glove policy at the operation. The company also takes advantage of a Cat fatigue risk management system on haul trucks. The system monitors a driver’s eyes and lips to detect fatigue, Griffin says.

“It costs a little bit of money to install, but it ensures the safety of your people,” he says.

1. Lance Griffin, director of aggregate operations for Texas and New Mexico, welcomes a tour group to the Balcones Quarry’s water recycling system and sand plant.

2. Among the components of the water recycling system and sand plant are twin 44-in. McLanahan sand screws.

3. The water recycling system decreases Cemex’s environmental impact and reliance on water pulled from nearby sources by using 90 percent less water annually than previously used by the quarry’s wash plant.

4. The updated and expanded wash plant cleans aggregate used in concrete and asphalt.

5. At the Balcones Quarry, Cemex utilizes a Cat 993K wheel loader in its equipment fleet, which includes five production loaders, 12 haul trucks, six shipping loaders, two dozers, two excavators and more. The 993K carries 100 tons per load, Cemex says.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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