Quarry in Marble has a new owner | AspenTimes.com

Quarry in Marble has a new owner

Aspen Times writer

The Colorado Yule Marble Quarry near Marble is under new management.

Quebec-based Polycor Inc. announced last week that it has acquired the assets and rights associated with the quarry from Centennial, Colo.-based Sierra Minerals Corp.

Rex Loesby, president of Sierra Minerals, said Friday that Polycor is a large and reputable company that can successfully extract, market and distribute the fine white marble from above the Crystal River.

“They have quarry experts, financial experts and marketing experts that can give this quarry its due,” he said. “They’re going to use more efficient quarrying equipment. It’s a little investment on their part, but it’s the right thing to do. I just couldn’t afford to do it.”

Sierra Minerals acquired the assets and the lease on the Yule Marble Quarry in May 1999, but ran into problems making the operation profitable, according to Loesby.

“I knew when I took it over that it was a stretch to think an individual could finance and operate it without a lot of luck,” he said. “We had good luck the first couple years and it went OK, but we were really dependent on a contract with the Veterans Administration for national cemetery headstones.”

The federal contract accounted for about 70 percent of the quarry’s sales, Loesby said. When the government chose another provider, Sierra Minerals found itself in a bind. At one time, Loesby employed 15 people at the quarry, but that number has since dropped to seven.

Polycor has retained all seven people, and Loesby will stay on as a consultant for the Canadian company. Polycor is already one of North America’s largest suppliers of architectural stone products, having acquired the Georgia Marble Dimension Stone company last year.

Polycor plans to distribute and market the Colorado marble through its American subsidiaries and will run the operation through a new division called Colorado Stone Quarries Inc.

“This transaction is very important, as this marble is part of the white marbles of the American patrimony and it becomes an excellent complement to the Georgia Marble,” said Andre F. Scott, vice president of corporate affairs, in a prepared statement.

The actual land on which the Yule quarry sits is owned by OMYA Inc., Loesby said. Polycor has acquired the lease, intellectual property and other assets associated with the quarrying operation.

Polycor also intends to continue with the Tomb of the Unknowns project, according to Loesby, using computer-controlled tools that should help crews duplicate the original stones at Arlington National Cemetery. Officials hope the quarry can produce the new stones by late summer or early fall, he said.

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