By Mark Magnan, Correspondent
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, Gina Taber and 22 of her students visited a local limestone mine near Nolanville. The class is AP Environmental Science at Belton New Tech High School at Waskow. The class studies natural and human made environmental problems, they evaluate risks and look at alternative solutions. They study the use of resources, including water and energy. Part of the studies look at natural resources such as mining operations and the products produced. The class was studying potential reclamation options for areas such as the limestone mine.
Upon arriving at Lhoist North America’s Nolanville operation, the students were greeted by Plant Manager Michael Babcock and several staff members. The mine’s safety policies were discussed and each student was given a hardhat, safety glasses and high visibility vest. The history of the mine and also of the company were given. Mr. Babcock went through the process explaining each step and also the policies for how the company protects the environment and natural resources. Following the briefing there was a driving tour of the facility and then to the mine to witness a blast.
The students had questions ranging from daily operations to what the potential environmental impact will be when the mining operations are complete. There were topics covering any oil or fuel hazards. Also the students were shown how the company captures and retains rain water for use during the summer months.
Following the tour all the students were given a small sample of a finished product and the class was presented with a large fossil from the area. They also came away with a good understanding of how the mining company is environmentally aware and how they protect both the land they operate on but also the streams and waterways.