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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook 1990
Year 1990, Volume 2 (1990)

West, Wanda J.; Gere, Milton A., Jr.
Michigan,   pp. [254]-269 PDF (2.4 MB)


Page 261

MICHIGAN—1990  261County, ranked second and fourth, respectively,
in
production among the Nation's 3,416 active crushed stone operations. 
 In September, Inland Steel Co. sold its Inland Lime & Stone Co.
quarry
at Gulliver to Pfizer Specialty Minerals 
Inc. , a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc. The Schoolcraft County limestone quarry
was closed in December 1989 after almost 60 years of operation when union
workers refused to vote on a contract proposal 
from St. Mary's Cement Co. of Ontario who wanted to buy the operation. That
sale had hinged on the labor agreement, which called for a cut in pensions
in the event of a plant closure. Pfizer hoped to 
reopen the quarry in the spring of 1992, following a major renovation of
the operation. Limestone from the Gulliver quarry will be used by Pfizer
to manufacture precipitated calcium carbonate for use as a paper filler or
coating pigment for the whitening of paper.'° Also, as part of the
sales
agreement, Inland Steel agreed to purchase 1 million short tons of stone
from Pfizer for 1 1 years commencing in 1992 for use at its East Chicago,
IN, steel mill." 
 As in a growing trend nationwide, Michigan aggregate producers desiring
to expand existing operations or to develop new ones frequently encountered
obstacles because of zoning regulations, land use conflicts, or opposition
by the general public for environmental or aesthetic reasons. One of the
most publicized such cases in Michigan during 1990 was France Stone Co. '
s
request for the rewiring of 200 acres in Monroe Township from agricultural
to heavy industrial as a preliminary step in opening a new limestone quarry.
The operation was to replace a nearby, nearly depleted quarry from which
the company produced about 1 million to 1 .25 million short tons 
of crushed stone annually.'2 After several months of heated public debate
over the issue, the Monroe Township Board unanimously rejected the rezoning
request, contending that it would conflict with the township's future land
use plan and that France Stone failed to prove that the quarry would not
adversely affect 
 "the health, safety, and public welfare" of area residents. Late
in the
year, France 
Stone filed a 15-page lawsuit against 
~ Monroe Township in the U.S. District Court in Detroit for denying the company's
rezoning application. The matter was unresolved at yearend, and the court
battle was expected to be a lengthy one. ~ 
Dimension.—Production of dimension 
 stone was estimated to have declined 
~ sharply from that of 1989. Two 
~ companies were active during 1990. Jude Stone Quarry Co. quarried sandstone
for curbing near Napoleon in Jackson County, and Inwood Stone Products Co.
produced dolomite in Schoolcraft County for use as veneer. 
Sulfur (Recove,wl~.—Two companies recovered byproduct sulfur at
petroleum
refmeries in Manistee and Wayne Counties. Sales increased 15 % in quantity
and 8 % in value over those reported for 
 1989. 
Vemikulite (Exfolialed). —Vermiculite from out-of-State sources
was
exfoliated by W. R. Grace & Co. , Construction Products Div. , at
its
Dearborn plant in Wayne County. Most sales were for block and loose-fill
insulation and fireproofing. Other uses included concrete and plaster aggregates
and agricultural purposes. The plant was permanently closed on September
1 , resulting in a sharp decline in 1990 output compared with that of 1989.
Increased competition from other materials, particularly in the building
products market, and a reduced level of construction activity contributed
to the closure. 
Metals 
 Copper, Go14 and Sth'er.—Nationally, Michigan ranked fifth among
12
States in copper production and ninth among 19 States in silver production.
Virtually all of the output was from Copper Range Co. ' s White Pine Mine,
smelter, and refinery complex in Ontonagon County. Copper Range Co. is owned
by Metal! 
Mining Co. , a Canadian-based subsidiary of Meta!lgesellschaft A.G. ~ of
the Federal 
Republic of Germany. Production of copper, in terms of recoverable metal,
was about 8 % higher than that in 1989, and silver production gained about
6%. Total value of production did not register 
 equal gains because of lower base metal 
prices. Copper prices averaged $1.23 per pound in 1990 compared with $1.31
per pound in 1989. Silver prices dropped for 
 the third consecutive year to $4.82 per 
troy ounce compared with the 1989 average of $5.50. 
In January, Metal! Mining Co. 
announced a capital investment program 
 aimed at modernizing its Copper Range facility and lowering production costs.
The company planned to spend about $30 million over the next 4 years to replace
~ antiquated equipment with larger, more 
~ efficient machinery, making changes that would nearly double the annual
copper 
production to about 65,000 short tons. As part of the production increase
program, Metal! Mining purchased mill equipment 
for its concentrator from Round Mountain Gold Corp. , a subsidiary of Echo
Bay Inc. (owner of the Copper Range operation from January to November 1985),
for $4 million. The mill section, already in the Copper Range concentrator,
had been idle since 1977. Addition of this equipment was expected to boost
Copper Range's capacity by about one-third, to a total of 23,000 short tons
per day. Ore production in 1990 averaged 14,300 short tons per day compared
with 12,900 tons per day in 1989. This resulted in the production of 
94.4 million pounds of cathodeequivalent compared with 87.4 million pounds
in 1989. ' ~ Approximately 1, 100 people were employed at the facility. As
of December 3 1, 1989, proven and probable reserves at the White Pine Mine
were 180.7 million short tons containing 4.5 billion pounds of extractable
copper, sufficient for more than 30 years of production.'4 
 Red Metal Explorations Inc. mined a small amount of ore in conjunction with
development work at the Caledonia Mine in Ontonagon County. Activities included
building a new entrance, establishing an emergency exit route, and working


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