Covia is dedicated to being a responsible corporate citizen and welcomed neighbor. We believe there is a difference between simply adhering to a permit, versus operating responsibly with a commitment to go beyond compliance. We actively address public interests early in the permitting process, engage in community dialogue, embrace transparency, and determine ways to meet our communities’ needs. Being in good standing with the communities where we live and work enables us to recruit and retain talent as well as maintain our social license to operate. We include information about our management approach and commitment to Sustainable Development in our permit applications and are proud of being welcomed at permit hearings for new and renewed permits.
Covia maintains open lines of communication with local communities near our operations, and we customize community action plans to fit each community’s unique needs. Our plant managers focus on community engagement, responding to inquiries, opportunities and concerns, and determining solutions. Regular communication occurs via open houses, public meetings, community reports and newsletters, telephone calls, local media, and community events. We welcome community members to open houses and site tours where we share our story and allow others to see how we operate. We evaluate local traffic patterns and aim to reduce traffic associated with our operations during peak hours, such as school or work rush hours. To lessen this impact, in some communities we collaborated with local governments (e.g. transit authorities) to build additional turning lanes in and out of facilities to enable safer merging. In addition, our community investment and land reclamation efforts demonstrate our commitment to supporting our neighbors and improving biodiversity.
Covia monitors and adheres to all federal, state, and local regulations and permits that apply to our operations. We distinguish ourselves as a responsible operator by going beyond compliance for many regulations, especially those related to environmental management and the health and safety of our communities. We uphold required standards for water use, air quality, and waste monitoring and control at all our facilities. During blasting, our employees and contractors use seismographs to collect data on air and ground vibrations, which show we are consistently below state and local regulation standards. In addition, we manage noise and light pollution, to the best of our ability, within our operations and respond to public concerns through modifications that, to the extent possible, eliminate, reduce, or refocus disturbances.
Covia proactively monitored and managed our community impacts in 2018. This included continuing voluntary particulate monitoring around a number of our facilities. At our nepheline syenite facilities, we created detailed noise profiles of various mine activities (e.g., loading, hauling) and monitored the time of day various activities occurred. Using these findings, we plan to further reduce noise disturbances for the nearby community.
Covia continues to receive recognition for successfully managing impacts and going beyond compliance. For example, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources designated four of our mining sites as Green Tier certified. Green Tier is a program which recognizes companies “that voluntarily exceed legal requirements related to health, safety, and the environment, resulting in continuous improvement in the state’s environment, economy, and quality of life.” Covia also earned recognition by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council as a Green Master. The program highlights companies that have demonstrated strong performance through sustainability initiatives. In Mexico, three locations received Clean Industry Certificates, demonstrating our compliance with all permits and efforts to go beyond regulation requirements.
In response to business and market conditions, we idled or closed several facilities in 2018. At each idled or closed location, we maintain our obligations, including, security, permits, land reclamation, and regulatory obligations.
In the interest of safety for the traveling public as well as our employees and transportation partners, Covia paid to add turning lanes at two locations in 2018: Canoitas, Mexico, and Crane, Texas. At our Crane, Texas, mine, a left turn lane as well as acceleration and deceleration lanes were added. “Covia is dedicated to being both a leading producer of frac sand to the Permian Basin and a standard-bearer in safety, environmental stewardship, and community engagement,” said Crane Plant Manager, Jordan Taylor. “As part of our plant construction, we identified the opportunity to upgrade a portion of road near our site entrance. These upgrades will improve the traffic pattern in the area and more importantly, provide for the safety of our neighbors through this portion of road.”
Covia worked in collaboration with the Texas Department of Transportation and a local contractor to complete the upgrades with minimum impact to traffic patterns. Odessa District Engineer John Speed said, “It’s an indicator of deep commitment to the safety of their employees and their neighbors…when a company is willing pay for [transportation improvements]. These road changes reduce the chances that accidents might occur around their facilities, so we're thrilled to have this kind of partner in transportation safety."
In Canoitas, Mexico, new lanes were added with the objective of improving safety. We also built a parking area for trucks (see photo) to avoid big lines of trucks outside our plant.
Covia holds itself responsible for protecting the well-being of our communities. In 2019, we plan to implement our site action management system and document our community action plans across all mines and plants, another way we Do Good. Do Well. Act Responsibly.