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You are here : Stone Home > Info Center > Industry news > Mineral in limestone quarry leads to Ash Grove shutdown

Mineral in limestone quarry leads to Ash Grove shutdown

Updated:2009-03-18 14:38:40

The Ash Grove Cement Company has identified a material in one section of its limestone quarry at Montana City that appears to contain a mineral known as tremolite, according to a press release from the company.


Certain forms of tremolite may cause significant health effects if inhaled in sufficient quantity, according to the press release, which added that Ash Grove has engaged independent renowned experts to further analyze the nature of the material at issue.


Manufacturing operations at Ash Grove's Montana City kiln and quarry operations have been shut down for routine annual maintenance since Jan. 31. Because of the ongoing analysis, company officials said, Ash Grove is notifying its workers to await further word from the company before returning to work.


"Ash Grove's top priority is the safety, health and well-being of our employees. It is for this reason that we are taking these precautionary measures," Michael Hrizuk, Ash Grove's Western Region vice president of manufacturing, said in a press release.


UPDATE: Company opens asbestos investigation


An asbestos investigation is under way at the Ash Grove Cement Co. operation near Helena and the company has told employees they should not report for work until instructed to do so.


What appears to be tremolite, a type of asbestos, has been identified in one section of the company's limestone quarry three miles from the Montana City cement plant south of Helena, Ash Grove said Monday. That section involves about 10 acres, company spokeswoman Jacqueline Clark said. The quarrying has involved digging or other disturbances on 100 acres or more.


Inhaled tremolite particles may be hazardous to human health, depending on how much is inhaled.


Vermiculite mined near the northwestern Montana town of Libby contained tremolite, which lawyers for residents say has sickened about 2,000 people in the community and killed up to 225. A federal trial is under way in Missoula on allegations that mine operator W.R. Grace & Co. and five former company officials knowingly allowed human exposure to the asbestos, which was dispersed beyond the mine site. The mine closed in 1990.


Clark said samples of quarry material were being collected for examination by independent analysts. Once samples are gathered, analysis could take five to 10 business days but it is difficult to pinpoint when results will be known, Clark said. Wintry weather Monday in the Helena area may have impeded the sampling, she added.


Ash Grove's Montana City manufacturing operations have been shut down for routine maintenance since Jan. 31, maintenance that is scheduled to end on April 1, Clark said. She said the shutdown is an ordinary part of the maintenance, which occurs annually and is performed by Ash Grove's Montana City personnel.


The company's Montana City operation employs 80 people, nine of them at the quarry, Clark said.


Ash Grove, which operates cement plants in nine states, bought the Montana City plant in 1987. The company is based in Overland Park, Kan.

Source:http://www.helenair.com

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