RENSSELAER, Mo. -- Central Stone Company is seeking a permit to expand its Huntington Quarry limestone mining operation southeast of Rensselaer in Ralls County.
The company has filed an application with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to start mining an additional 98 acres of land just north of its existing 2,008-acre pit mine.
Ashley Harrison, an environmental specialist with the DNR's Land Reclamation Program, said the proposed new surface mining site would be on the north side of Sweetbay Lane. Most of the company's current mining operation takes place south of the road.
The company's permit application is in the "public comment" stage. Harrison said a public notice has been published in a local newspaper, and all adjoining landowners were mailed notices outlining the company's expansion plans. The public has until June 29 to submit written comments about the permit request.
She said a public hearing will be scheduled only if one is requested by any person with a direct, personal interest in one of the factors used by the DNR in deciding whether to issue the permit. So far, she said, no requests have been submitted.
The DNR's Land Reclamation Program oversees the permitting process because the company must show its long-range plans for the site meet all state guidelines under the Missouri Land Reclamation Act of 1972.
Harrison said the guidelines cover everything that could be potentially impacted by the mining operation, including where any overburden is placed once it is removed from the land's surface to gain access to the limestone.
Harrison said the company also must spell out how it plans to reclaim the land after the mining work is done. In the case of the additional 98-acre site to be mined, she said, long-range plans call for creating a small lake on the privately owned site.
Harrison said any firm that does commercial mining must receive a DNR permit "to verify they will do reclamation." Companies also must submit a bond that will be held by the DNR until the reclamation work is deemed satisfactory, Harrison said.
Central Stone is a major producer and distributor of limestone materials, including rocks used for various road and construction projects. The company operates pit mines at multiple locations, including sites in the Northeast Missouri counties of Ralls, Lewis, Marion, Pike, Knox, Shelby and Monroe, according to the DNR's web site (dnr.mo.gov).
More information is available by calling the Land Reclamation Program at 573-751-4041.