The quarry sites are operated by Carolina Quarries, which is a subsidiary of Rock of Ages. The Salisbury Pink quarry in Salisbury, NC, yields approximately 6,000 cubic meters per year, while the Gardenia White quarry in Rockwell, NC, yields approximately 3,000 cubic meters per year.
Following a company philosophy on efficient quarrying practices, both of the North Carolina sites are loader quarries. “We developed a process to get these quarries where we needed to get them, and the development has been tremendous,” said Bob Campo, Vice President of quarry Sales for Rock of Ages.
Some of the most dramatic development can be seen at the Gardenia White quarry site, where nearly two years of investment are paying off. “We wanted to open it up, and not just plunge in there,” explained Kurt Swenson, owner of Rock of Ages. “It was two years of time and investment, but we wanted to do it the right way.”
Stone is extracted using diamond wire saws, which allows for higher benches, and the same technology is used for block trimming as needed. The saws are manufactured by Perfora and Marini Quarries Group, while the wire is from Diamant Boart.
Other equipment at the quarries includes mobile drilling rigs, including several units from Tamrock/Sandvik, along with front-end loaders for transporting material.
Going beyond the machinery, the human element is a major component of the extraction process. Both quarries operate year round, with the white quarry employing 14 workers and the pink quarry employing 12 workers. Many of these employees have a great deal of experience in stone quarrying, and they rely on their knowledge to help extract blocks with an optimum level of color, pattern, size and quality. “I love the pride that our workers have,” Swenson said during Stone World’s visit to the quarry sites. “They know that there’s a real future for them here.”
Virtually all of the granite from the two quarries is used for building construction — 100% of the Gardenia White and 90% of the Salisbury Pink. Typically, Asia is the main market for both materials, although they have also been used for prominent architectural work on the Middle East. Among the high-profile projects, Rock of Ages supplied Salisbury Pink granite for the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Rock of Ages quarried 4,000 cubic meters of granite for the Emirates Palace, which measures approximately one kilometer from end to end.