Rock of Ages invests in future of Bethel White Quarry
January 27, 2011
Dating back to the 1800s, the Bethel White Quarry in Bethel, VT, is a staple among the sites owned and operated by Rock of Ages Corp. Currently, the quarry is undergoing an extensive development effort to maintain its long-standing history of high-quality production well into the future.
The Bethel White Quarry was among the first commercially operated quarries in the U.S., and material from the site was used for a range of historic buildings and national landmarks. These include government facilities such as the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, WI, (among several other state capitol buildings), the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, and the U.S. Post Office, also in Washington, DC. In recent years, stone from the site has been used for the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, UT, which was a prime destination during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games (see December 2000 Stone World, page 50), and it is being used for the Qatar Convention Center in Doha Qatar (see September 2010 Stone World, page 116). The material is also exported in block form to stoneworking plants around the world, primarily in Italy and China.
“We have been working on this development for the past few winters,” explained Bob Campo, Vice President of Quarry Sales for Rock of Ages, who added that stone is typically extracted from the quarry from March to late December each year. “We have also invested in new wire saws from Profora and Benetti over the past few years, and we are using wire from Co.Fi.Plast.” Overall, a total of more than $1 million has been invested in the quarry expansion.
The expansion effort has crews going deeper into the mine, extracting stone from the original area where the quarry was first founded. “We are opening the site to the point that we can go deeper in [the original] spot and still be a loader quarry,” Campo said.
In addition to extracting stone using modern technology such as diamond wire saws and slot drills - including Tamrock/Sandvik 600 slot liners and Tamrock/Sandvik 550 deep hole drills - workers use time-honored techniques in the quarry. “We still feather and wedge to break blocks,” Campo said. The quarry employs 16 workers over two shifts, and the quarry yield is 6,000 cubic meters per year.
A typical extracted block of Bethel White is 3 m x 160 cm x random. “We always try to quarry gangsaw-sized blocks.” Campo said, adding that the stone can be cut in either direction. “It is versatile not only for us, but for our customers, so they can get maximum recovery.”