The public had an opportunity recently to tour a local business that mines stone material. Upstone Materials showcased its operations and how it processes the limestone it extracts from its site in Plattsburgh. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was there.
The 60-acre quarry in Plattsburgh doesn’t just mine the limestone that’s blasted and dug from a pit at the site. It also processes the material providing crushed stone, cement and gravel to construction crews and homeowners across the region.
Upstone Materials, the quarry’s current owner, bought the assets from Graymount Materials in May 2017. The previous owner held open houses regularly but this is the first time Upstone has invited the public to view its operations. Area Manager Doug Henry explained what they do. “The simple answer is we turn big rocks into little rocks. We blast and excavate material out of the ground and limestone here in Plattsburgh and then we process it into different size stone products for people to buy or we also incorporate those into our Ready Mix Concrete and our Hot Mix asphalt products.”
Poupore: “Go on a walking tour right here, alright! Hi my name’s Greg Poupore. I’m the Safety Coordinator for Upstone. Alright we’ll start our walking tour.”
Poupore stood on blocks of stone to describe the types of stone the quarry produces. “So we’re kind of starting at the opposite end. This is some of our finished product. This is some number two crushed stone. We have limestone here. This is some of the decorative stones that we have. So you’ll see some red sandstone. That comes from our quarry in Potsdam. So our Potsdam quarry is famous for red sandstone.”
A constant stream of dump trucks, haulers, and cement trucks pass by as the group makes it way up the first hill to cement processing. "So this is a soap rack before the trucks go in and get loaded with asphalt they go underneath this and it puts soap in the back of the dump trucks so that all the asphalt doesn’t stick into it. So when they back up to the paver it slides right out. This is the entrance where all the trucks come in before they get loaded and go to our asphalt plants. Next we’re going to visit the Ready Mix concrete facility. So cement is a dry powder dust that’s stored up in that big silo. We have a truck that’s being loaded with concrete right now. So all the components the sand and the stone gets put in those bins. It runs up the long belt. It goes in these hoppers. It gets weighed up. And then it gets dumped back in the back barrel of the truck and then the cement gets dropped in along with the water and it spins and it all mixes up and that’s how concrete is made.”
Up the hill a truck dumps a load of boulders to be crushed. “You’ll hear an alarm sound. When that alarms sounds he will dump his load into the hopper.”
From there all of the tour groups converge at an overlook to see the quarry’s most dynamic extraction.
Many of the adults were curious about the operations; others like Shirley Carter wanted to see why their neighboring houses shake periodically. “I live just over there and I wanted to know what went on over here. But it’s like an earthquake. Kind of like a little earthquake.”
Upstone Materials facilities in Lewis, Saranac Lake and Malone produce granite products. The company also has sand and gravel pits throughout the region.
The Plattsburgh facility processes between 400 thousand and 500 thousand tons of limestone material annually.