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Natural gas would offer considerable savings

Cornerstone Industrial Minerals Pres. Bruce Addington recently expressed interest toward implementation of natural gas at its Lakeview perlite processing plate.

Addington discussed the proposal during a special Oct. 1, meeting of the Lake County Board of Commissioners.  At that time, he discussed potential access to the right-of-way alongside the Lake County Railroad for a 6-mile gas line that would tap into the Ruby Pipeline installation.

Natural gas would replace recycled oil utilized for drying rock materials, Addington said.

The switch would result in reducing the moisture content of the rock down to 0.5 percent from the current estimated 10 percent moisture content with the oil-based drying system, he said.

Collins Companies’ lone Lakeview sawmill is considering natural gas usage for a chip dryer, Addington said.

The sawmill’s manager, Dee Brown, confirmed that the idea is currently being researched but prospective cost savings had not yet been developed at this early stage.

Brown noted that the plant struggles during the winter months in generating enough steam to dry their lumber.  Whereas Cornerstone has to buy fuel for their current drying operation, Brown said that Collins has ‘hog’ fuel, which is inclusive of bark and chips utilized in firing their boilers to generate steam.

Addington said at the time that the expense between a six-inch and 10-inch line is considerable.  Estimates he provided in a later interview indicated the material cost factor triples between the smaller and larger sizes: $5 per foot for a six-inch line and $15 per foot for the 10-inch line.

Addington said that financing scenarios are currently in development, with an eight-inch line examined for cost feasibility at $8 per foot of material cost.

Addington also said he would be providing the Commissioners with additional details with regard to burner sizes for the conversion. Attorney John Bogardus is looking into matters pertaining to land ownership in the area along the right-of-way route.

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