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Let's Take A Quarry Tour

Every year we host visits from school students, scout troops and college students who wish to learn more about what happens at a quarry and how we produce aggregates or crushed stone. Crushed stone is used in so many of our everyday products that it's not surprising people are fascinated and want to learn more. The roads we drive on, the sidewalks we walk along, the buildings we study and work in, the underground pipes that carry our drinking water.....all are made using crushed stone.

OK, let's start. Welcome to our quarry. We hope you enjoy your day with us. Let's start by boarding the tour bus for our tour.

A rock quarry is a special type of mine that is on the surface, not underground. When a quarry is new, the topsoil and any vegetation growing on the surface has to be removed to expose the rock underneath. Then, using careful planning, mine engineers plan how the rock will be mined, depending upon the geology of the quarry. Tilcon's quarries are all either granite, limestone or trap rock. They are often located close to areas where the rock will be used because transporting rock by truck can be expensive and it's best not to have to transport it too far.  Some quarries transport their rock by rail and also by barge. Three of Tilcon's New York quarries are located along the banks of the Hudson River, so their rock can be transported by river barge to customers.

Our first stop is the Pit. This is where the rock is broken up using blasting agent and transported by haul truck to a crusher, to be more finely crushed into smaller pieces.  A plan is made to drill deep holes close to the rock face, which are packed with small amounts of blasting agent. The depth and placement of the holes depends upon the type of rock and the size of the pieces that are required.  We use expert, specialist companies to handle drilling and blasting for us. They know exactly how to work with the blasting agent as safely as possible.  Some quarries blast several times a week, others less often.

 

Next stop is the Primary Crusher. Blasting results in the rock being broken into large pieces. These are loaded into haul trucks and driven across the quarry to the Primary Crusher. The large rocks are fed into the top of it and crushed by the machine into smaller pieces.  Sometimes, rocks may be fed into smaller crushers to be further broken down.

Next stop are the Screen Decks. After crushing, rocks are screened and sorted into piles of the same size. Screens are like sieves that you use in a kitchen. Each screen has holes of a certain size that allow smaller rocks to fall through, the bigger ones stay behind and are transported to be stored in piles. This process is repeated until all of the sizes that are needed have been produced. Rocks are sold by size, usually fractions of an inch. The different sizes have different uses, for example 5/8 inch stone is commonly used by concrete manufacturers to make concrete.  

Finally, let's drive by the Stockpiles and the Scale House. Rocks are stored in stockpiles at the quarry until needed by our customers. Then they are sold by the ton and usually transported to customers by truck. Trucks arrive at the quarry and are weighed when empty. Then a loader fills the truck with rock and the truck drives to the scale house. The loaded truck is weighed again to measure how many tons of rock have been loaded in the truck. The driver of the truck is given a ticket which records the type of rock and the number of tons that have been loaded. This is like getting a receipt for your groceries at the store. Finally, the rock is then delivered to a customer job site or facility depending upon the final use of the particular load of rock.

 

All of our quarries have very strict procedures in place to make sure that the rock is quarried safely and with as little impact as possible on our neighbors and the environment. All quarries are subject to strict controls and inspections concerning water, dust and noise. All quarries have very strict safety guidelines and are frequently inspected by safety agencies.

If you do visit one of our quarries, these guidelines will be explained to you to make sure that you have a very safe and enjoyable visit.

We hope you enjoyed your tour.