Monarch plans expansion



March 10, 2010 - 12:00 AM

With British Petroleum more receptive to letting Monarch Cement Co. access its land, a two-mile-plus conveyor may be in place before too long for the cement company.
Harvey Buckley, vice president for cement manufacturing, told Allen County commissioners Tuesday morning that agreement with BP seemed at hand. Buckley credited a letter of recommendation from commissioners last year for BP’s new outlook.
Monarch, in business since 1908, wants to build a $15 million conveyor to carry crushed rock from recently opened quarries east of U.S. 169 about two miles to the company’s manufacturing equipment.
Today, the rock is carted to the plant by a steady stream of large trucks. The conveyor would transport 1,000 tons an hour and be of immense advantage, Buckley said. Supplanting truck transport would make the process safer, reduce wear and tear on the hard-surfaced county road and eliminate a substantial portion of pollution concerns from truck exhaust.
The idea of a conveyor surfaced about 15 years ago, Buckley said, and Monarch has been negotiating with BP for easement of the land since July 2006.
“Local people (representing BP) have no issue with granting access,” he said. “It’s the corporate people in Chicago, and a succession of them” — each of whom has to be acquainted with Monarch’s plans — that has slowed the process, Buckley said.
Initially, BP wanted Monarch to sign a year-to-year lease for access, not at all attractive for a project that will cost so much and take about two and a half years to complete, Buckley said.
BP land in question is a 60-foot strip just west of U.S. 169 plus about two acres along the south side of Coal Creek closer to Monarch’s plant.
Plans are for the conveyor to cross the highway under Coal Creek bridge, rise to nine feet above BP’s land, then soar 50 to 55 feet in the air to cross railroad tracks and a county road just east of the plant and south of Coal Creek. Most of the two miles will be at ground level.
The conveyor belt and apparatus to enclose it to prevent spillage will be about seven feet wide and be in operation five to six days a week during most of the year, Buckley said.

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