Calcite opens quarry for annual Nautical visitors

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Jim Price of Plymouth helps his son Seth down the steps of a giant dump truck at Carmeuse’s Calcite Operation on Friday. Each year during Rogers City’s annual Nautical City Festival, Carmeuse gives the public a chance to see some of the giant equipment that’s used at the plant.

ROGERS CITY — The smile on four-year-old Seth Price’s face was priceless as he got to explore the giant equipment used at Carmeuse Lime and Stone’s Calcite Operation on Friday.

Seth, his dad Jim, and other family members were vacationing in the area and decided to check out the giant equipment at Calcite as part of the Nautical City Festival in Rogers City.

Seth, who had just climbed down from one of the plant’s 26-foot and 9-inches high Cat 789B dump trucks, said he liked the equipment “because it’s a dump truck.” For Jim, it brought back childhood memories.

“When I was younger, my grandpa owned a yard, and when I was about (Seth’s) age, I was riding around in front end loaders,” he said of his grandpa’s salvage yard in Metro Detroit.

But Jim said he’d never seen the giant equipment in person before.

“I think it’s cool,” he said.

The Prices were among hundreds of people expected to visit the plant over the weekend.

Erika Comerford, spokeswoman for the plant, said they have been offering the giant equipment display at the entrance of the plant for years. Comerford said the biggest motivation for allowing the public see the giant equipment is because the public doesn’t have access to the plant.

“It’s really their opportunity to be able to see and experience just how large the equipment is,” she said.

Comerford said the public can see the equipment from the quarry view and said it looks big, even from that far away, but the only way for the public to get “up close and personal” is for the company to have it available outside it’s entrance.

The largest truck owned by the plant is a dump truck 26 feet and 9 inches tall and 25 feet wide, according to a fact sheet provided by the company. That dump truck can hold 195 tons of limestone, has a 851 gallon fuel tank and can reach a top speed of 35 miles per hour whether it is loaded or empty.

The plant’s newest loader is 13 feet high and its bucket is 25 yards long, allowing it to hold around 33 tons of limestone. It takes the truck five passes to fill a 150 ton truck and seven passes to fill a 195 ton truck, like the plant’s largest dump truck. The loader uses about 43 gallons of diesel fuel per hour.

The Calcite Operation is one of 28 production facilities Carmeuse owns in North America and one of 94 production facilities the company owns around the world. The plant mines, processes and ships limestone via freighters on the Great Lakes, which haul the raw materials to the next location.

Comerford said the plant’s target is to produce 10.4 million tons of limestone this year. The company has shipped 915,931,719 tons of limestone since it opened in 1912.

Carmeuse’s giant equipment also will be on display today beginning at 10 a.m. The plant is located at 1035 Calcite Rd in Rogers City.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

Calcite by the numbers

∫ 915,931,719 tons: the amount of limestone shipped since the quarry opened

∫ 107: the number of years Calcite has been in operation

∫ 16.6 million tons: the most limestone shipped in one year. That was in 1953.

∫ 12.5 square miles: the amount of property owned by the plant

∫ $3.25 million: the cost of the plant’s newest loader

∫ $70,000: the cost of each tire for the plant’s newest loader

∫ 195 tons: the capacity of Calcite’s largest truck

∫ 4,000: the number of wheelbarrow loads it would take to fill the truck

∫ 250 to 300: the number of freighters that come into Calcite’s port annually

∫ 12 hours: the estimated time it takes to fill a freighter