Company applies to operate quarry in northern Cape Girardeau County

Friday, February 4, 2011

Southeast Missouri Stone Co., operated by Delta Companies, wants to open a limestone quarry near Oak Ridge at a site it mined years ago.

The company has filed an application for a 38-acre quarry west of Interstate 55 off County Road 427.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments on the permit request, which is considered by the department as an expansion because the company has mined the site before.

Reopening the quarry will give Delta Companies an advantage when it submits a bid to the Missouri Department of Transportation in June for a contract to do repaving on southbound Interstate 55, said Zach Green, the company's regional manager of aggregate operations.

"For us to be more competitive on the rock supply on that job we have to be closer to job site," he said. The last time the quarry on County Road 427 was in operation was in the early '70s, he said.

The proposed Southeast Missouri Stone Co. quarry would operate December through April, according to the application. If approved, the permit extension would extend through Dec. 31, 2060.

Delta Companies operates four quarries in Southeast Missouri: Southeast Missouri Stone, Dexter Sand & Gravel Pit, Lodi Quarry and Williamsville Quarry.

Company representatives met with neighboring property owners in November to address their concerns before filing the permit application, Green said.

The Southeast Missouri Stone Co. application follows two controversial applications by other local companies for new quarry construction about eight miles to the south in Fruitland near Saxony Lutheran High School and another application for quarry expansion near Dalhousie in Cape Girardeau.

Last week, local residents and school officials opposed to separate proposals by Heartland Materials and Strack Excavating appeared before the Missouri Land Reclamation Commission in Jefferson City to request a formal hearing on these mining permit applications. The commission will meet in closed session Monday to discuss whether to grant the hearing request.

A hearing request has been granted for Strack's proposed expansion of a quarry near Dalhousie, which has also met with opposition from local residents.

A hearing in that case hadn't been set Friday.

Anticipating demand

Demand for limestone products used in buildings and road construction has declined in recent years due to a slowdown in the economy, said Steve Rudloff, manager of the Missouri Limestone Producers Association in Jefferson City, which represents about 50 mining companies.

"But at the same time, a company in this business must anticipate demand in the future because it's sometimes a long process to get permitting in place, arrange financing for equipment," Rudloff said. "I assume these companies are anticipating an increase in the economy."

When looking for a quarry site, the quality of the rock, local market and transportation access are all factors, he said.

Most limestone is used within 40 miles of where it is extracted, according to the association's website.

Comments or requests for an informal public meeting or formal hearing concerning the Southeast Missouri Stone Co. may be sent to Director, Land Reclamation Program, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176. Public comments will be accepted through Feb. 24.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

County Road 427, Oak Ridge, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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