With roots dating back to 1969, Solancis of Benedita, Portugal, is a credible name in the stone industry. The company owns 12 quarries on the Iberian Peninsula — Serra de Aire e Candeeiros — and it has a strong commitment to technology and the environment.

During its visit with Solancis, Stone World had the opportunity to see two of its quarries. The first was a smaller site that produces blue- and beige-colored limestone. “From layer to layer, the color, texture and hardness change,” explained Sérgio Couto, commercial director of Solancis. “This type of limestone can be used in high-traffic areas such as shopping malls and exterior applications.”

The second quarry was started in 1988, and it produces 12 different colors. “A few years ago, we realized some layers are different so we mark them,” said Couto, adding that the layers are 10 meters high. “Technology has helped us improve our extraction process.”

At this limestone quarry, there are three workers and 45% of the stone extracted can be used. A total of 12,000 cubic meters is produced annually.

According to Couto, Europe is Solancis’s main market, but it also sells to the U.S., Asia and Middle East. The company’s most popular stones are Branco Real and Branco do Mar.

Couto explained that Solancis is currently working on supplying stone to a project in Miami, FL. “[A total of] 25,000 square meters is required for the job in Miami,” he said. “It needs to be supplied in two years. We have to determine where in the quarry we can take the stone so that it can meet that demand.”

All of the blocks arriving at Solancis’s stone processing plant from the quarry are marked with a serial number so the workers know where the block is going. Equipment at the factory includes a Levibreton KFT 3000 polishing line and a CEI/Zipor saw/waterjet. Additionally, the factory utilizes software that takes a photo and gives details on each slab. “The software shows a picture of a slab and where the defects are,” explained Couto. “We can determine the amount of waste [of each slab].”

According to Couto, Solancis has become specialized in window and door jamb projects. The company also recently won the contract to supply limestone to new Burberry shops worldwide. “We will supply one or two a month,” said Couto. “We will do between 20 to 50 stores by the end of the year.”

Other projects include several Louis Vuitton stores, and at the time of Stone World’s visit, the company was working on a mock-up for the Hong Kong airport.

Solancis dedicates itself to raising the awareness of safety and the environment to its workers and continually trains them. The company seeks to improve its performance in terms of production and with regard to protecting the environment, improving safety conditions and the quality of its products.