Plans in works for quarry expansion just north of Glenwood Springs
A forthcoming application with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is expected to propose a major “modernization and expansion” of the long-standing Mid-Continent limestone quarry located just north of Glenwood Springs.
Recent new owners Rocky Mountain Resources, which acquired the quarry from CalX Minerals in October 2016, have been meeting with the BLM, as well as city of Glenwood Springs and Garfield County officials, ahead of submitting a formal modification to their existing operation.
A project information flier that has been shared with various organizations and business interests in Glenwood Springs provides a few details and several project goals, should the expansion ultimately be approved.
Among them would be “significant improvements” along the segment of Transfer Trail that leads to the quarry and also serves as the main vehicle access to the nearby Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park.
The tentative plan calls for a sizable increase in production at the quarry that will boost the workforce from five full-time employees now to between 40 and 50. The plan is to truck the limestone down Transfer Trail and lower Traver Trail roads, across U.S. 6 and 24 to Devereux Road, and to a rail loadout along the Union Pacific rail line.
“When commercially available,” the plan also is to use an electric truck fleet in an effort to reduce emissions and noise, according to the preliminary plan.
The expansion would be expected to contribute $15 million to $25 million annually to the local economy, “by way of wages, taxes, goods and services payments.”
“RMR produces a variety of limestone products that are used in everything from underground mine safety to stream restoration and local infrastructure projects,” according to the informational flier.
The quarry was a significant materials supplier for the recent Grand Avenue Bridge project.
Historically, though, the quarry was opened in 1982 in part to serve the Mid-Continent Resources coal mines in Coal Basin near Redstone.
“Since then, over a million tons of high-grade limestone have been safely produced at the quarry and supplied to the local market in the form of rock dust, industrial fillers, boulders and aggregates,” the flier explained.
Bobby Wagner, vice president of Colorado operations for Rocky Mountain Resources, said the one-page sheet was intended to provide some of the core information about the project. More detailed information will be forthcoming, he told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on Tuesday.
The company also has set up a website, glenwoodrocks.org, to share information about the project as it becomes available, he said.
“We will also be holding community forums to facilitate information-sharing and community feedback,” Wagner said.
David Boyd, spokesman for the area BLM field office which will be reviewing the application, said RMR has 41 mining claims on 820 acres, and is currently permitted to operate on six claims covering about 20 acres.
The quarry had been closed from 1992, when the Coal Basin mines closed, until 2009 when CalX Minerals resumed operations until selling to RMR, which has continued mining under the existing operation plan.
That plan calls for as many as 20 truckloads per day on Transfer Trail, where the forthcoming proposal envisions hundreds of round trips per day, according to information shared with city and county officials.
Boyd said the application, once received, would be reviewed internally and a determination made what type of analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act, will be necessary. That could involve an environmental assessment or a more extensive environmental impact statement, depending on the scope of the planned expansion, he said.
“There will definitely be opportunities for the public to be involved,” Boyd said.
Depending on the formal proposal, city and county permits could be required, as well.
According to the company flier explaining the plans, “RMR exists to do things well, and to do them the right way. We take time to thoughtfully look at all the options, and make choices that are the best for the environment, the community and the operation.”
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