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Stone crusher could improve reclaimed lands

By BILL LUSK

The Logan Banner

HOLDEN, W.Va. — One year ago while searching the internet using Google, Nathan Hall came across a company in Italy that supplied machinery for landscape maintenance and forestry.

Hall, president of Reclaim Appalachia, had a vision about new ways to improve reclaimed mine lands and reached out to the Italian-based company Seppi.

“Almost all of their work has been in Europe and Russia and other places other than the U.S.,” Hall said. “I reached out to them, we started a dialogue and I kind of made the case that I think there could be a big market opportunity in this area for their machines.”

Once Seppi was convinced they agreed to come down and do a demonstration which Hall agreed to set up.

Thursday afternoon, Hall invited people from the Department of Agriculture, different universities and local equipment dealers to get awareness built up.

A Seppi Supersoil stone crusher and mulcher was paired with a 13,000-pound, 330 horse power Deutz 9340 TTV tractor, which came from Indiana, was used to convert rocky reclaimed mine ground into workable, tillable soil.

“It’s almost like a continuous miner that is inside a box that forces the rocks to get broken up down into soil particles,” Hall said. “It is like a bunch of heavy duty hammers and a rotor in a compartment that just grinds things down into soil particles.”

“I think that is very significant for this area because no machine of this type has been tried on these reclaimed mine lands,” Hall said. “It can take this super rocky compacted ground and very easily turn that into very rich soil.”

The demonstration, which took place Thursday afternoon at the Buck Harless Wood Products Industrial Park on 22 Mine Road in Holden, drew an estimated crowd of 50 people.

“My goal today is to get some people interested in buying this set of equipment,” Hall said. “My goal is to get at least one of these things in the state.”

“If we can get them here so that we can rent them out to different groups,” Hall said. “I think we can start to see agriculture becoming a more serious part of the economy.”

Conducting extensive testing on reclaimed mine lands Hall and his group hopes to see Appalachia start to benefit quickly.

Hall said the machinery is like taking what nature has done and putting it on fast forward.

“This machine is speeding up the geologic process of soil creation by about 5,000 years,” Hall said. ‘The good rich dirt that we have down in the bottom lands is the result of hundreds and thousands of years of rocks breaking down into soil particles.

The machine, which is estimated around $500,000, if contracted out properly would pay for itself rather easily, he said.

“If you could get equipment dealers or agencies to use one of these it could be used all around the area,” Hall said. “It could really be a big jumpstart to the agricultural economy.”

Hall is looking forward to the day that he can look out and see a reclaimed mine site filled with blackberries, lavender and corn and soil beans in Appalachia.

“I hope this is kind of a spark to get things moving forward,” Hall said. “Making a big difference around here.”

Bill Lusk is a news and sports reporter for the Logan Banner and can be reached at 304-752-6950. He can also be reached by email at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @LogBannerSports.

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