Aggregate Industries – MWR, Inc. (Aggregate Industries) is proposing to move its mine area, which supports the existing Nelson Sand & Gravel Mine Facility,onto an approximately 395-acre parcel of privately owned land that the company leases in the backwaters of the Mississippi River on Lower Grey Cloud Island. Although it leases the mining area, Aggregate Industries owns the land where the processing plant infrastructure is located. The planned shift in mine area would take place during a 20 to 25-year period. Aggregate Industries has been mining at the existing Nelson Sand & Gravel Mine Facility since the early 1950s when the J.L. Shiely Company (now known as Aggregate Industries) entered into a lease agreement with the private landowner. A form of this lease agreement remains in place between the private landowner and Aggregate Industries today.
The existing Nelson Sand & Gravel Mine Facility mines aggregate in the Lower Grey Cloud Island deposit and will exhaust its currently accessible minable reserves in approximately five years given the current rate of mining, market trends, and geologic variations at the site. The proposed project’s purpose is to exercise Aggregate Industries’ lease to continue mechanical dredging operations in an adjacent backwaters area of the Mississippi River to supply to the Twin Cities and other local markets with construction quality natural aggregate for an additional 20 to 25 years.
Pursuant to Minnesota Rules for nonmetallic mineral mining, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared for this project as it exceeds the thresholds identified below where the City of Cottage Grove is the Responsible Government Unit (RGU).
- 4410.4400, Subpart 9B – development of a facility for the extraction or mining of sand, gravel, stone, or other nonmetallic minerals other than peat, which will excavate 160 acres of land or more to a mean depth of 10 feet or more during its existence, the local governmental unit is the RGU.
- 4410.4400, Subpart 9C – development of a facility for the extraction or mining of sand, gravel, stone, or other nonmetallic minerals other than peat, which will excavate 40 or more acres of forested or other naturally vegetated land in a sensitive shoreland area or 80 or more acres of forested or other naturally vegetated land in a non-sensitive shoreland area, the local governmental unit is the RGU.
The Cottage Grove City Council approved a resolution on March 2, 2022, to distribute the Scoping Environmental Assessment Worksheet (SEAW) and Draft Scoping Decision Document (SDD) for a required 30-day comment period. The comment period was March 15 through April 14, 2022. A public hearing was held March 28, 2022, to receive comments at the regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting.
City Council Resolution and Information
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