A company has revived a proposal for a limestone quarry and cement plant north of Paulden in the US. Drake Cement LLC hopes to mine limestone on 59 acres of the Prescott National Forest about five miles north of Paulden and one mile east of Highway 89. It plans to process the limestone on neighboring private land for at least 10 years, using a 3500-foot conveyor system to move the materials. It wants to start construction next spring. The company has bought mining claims and related interests from Stirling Bridge, which proposed a similar operation in 2002 but never reached the environmental study stage.
A company consultant in Cottonwood, Cliff Ayres, was not available for comment Monday afternoon about whether Drake plans to haul processed limestone by rail, how much groundwater it will use, or how many jobs it will produce. Ayres also represented Stirling which apparently is acting for the parent company ARPL based in Lima, Peru.
Limestone mining has been taking place off and on in the Drake area since about 1880, the Forest Service document states. Federal law does not allow federal agencies to deny mining applications, but the Forest Service can put requirements on the company to prevent resource damage, Forest Service Project Manager Michael Smith noted. While the Forest Service can regulate the mining operations, it won’t be able to regulate the limestone plant on private land.