Saturday, June 18, 2011

Arizona cement plant uses Mississippian Redwall Limestone

A crowd of about 300 participated in the formal grand opening of the Drake Cement plant yesterday, about 35 miles north of Prescott. The shiny new operation is the first new cement plant in Arizona since the Clarkdale plant began in 1959 but the economic downturn means that it may not be going into full production immediately. Workers have been testing components of the complex system for the past few months but a 30-day full-scale run is now scheduled. [right, Drake Cement Chairman Ricardo Rizo-Patron, President & CEO Marco Gomez-Barrios, Yavapai County Commissioner Carol Springer, and COO Cliff Ayers. My photo]

The plant is located at the old limekiln towns of Putenney and Drake, that began in the laste 1800's. The draw is the exposure of Mississippian Redwall Limestone in Hell Canyon. Cliff Ayres, Drake Cement's COO, planned on offering the audience a historical and geological overview of the site but strong winds were drowning out speakers and flapping the screen, so they cut that out of the program. Cliff kindly provided me a set of his slides and handouts.

The plants limestone quarry volumes are calculated for the Redwall's 20-ft thick "Crinoidal" and 95-ft thick "Oolitic" members. They calculate 89.23 million tons in the Oolitic member, with 53.86% CaO, 31.88 million tons in the Crinoidal member with 47.98% CaO, and another 30 million tons in a "Siliceous" layer that is not on their cross section, with 35.35% CaO. [bottom right, end of conveyor belt that brings limestone from the quarry in the background, to the storage building. My photo]. The engineers told us the limestone is running over 95% calcium, so they have to mix some "low calcium" limestone with it to have the right mix. Maybe one of you readers can explain the difference in numbers??

Considering plant production design is 660,000 tons per year, and the limestone is mixed with other components, they say confidently that they have well over a hundred year's supply of raw materials lined up.

Drake Cement is owned by Cementos Lima, the largest cement producer in Peru. The $300 million plant required over a decade to get permits and build, employing 600 construction workers. It has 55 employees now and will ramp up to 100 when they go into full production. One of the engineers told me they expect to ship about 60% of the plants output by rail on the nearby BNSF line, to Phoenix, Tucson, and Las Vegas. The company bought out two cement distributors in Las Vegas that are now branded as Drake Materials, to provide outlets for their type 2 and type 5 cements.


  1. Anonymous1:19 PM

    My view to the NW, was Drake Cement - 340-foot-tall STACKS of equipment that jut into the sky enclosed by 120-acres of buildings & machinery - the GUTS of a modern extractive mining industry. Drake will surface-mine Redwall Limestone from a quarry on Prescott National Forest land & then re-contour & restore the vegetation (which we hope they SURELY "WILL" DO!). The limestone extracted will be heated in a rotary kiln fixed with coal to produce Portland cement - the "glue" of concrete. HEATING LIMESTONE RELEASES CARBON DIOXIDE INTO THE ATMOSPHERE! Carbon Dioxide is odorless & colorless gas which affects the human body in various ways depending on length of exposure and the levels exposed to. At low levels a human may have lack of concentration; at the highest level, a human will become unconscious or suffocate. Carbon dioxide is responsible for 57 per cent of the earth's global warming. BURNING COAL releases additional fossil carbon. Drake WILL EMIT OVER 800 THOUSAND TONS OF FOSSIL CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS EACH YEAR! Drake is a small plant 1/2 the size of Clarkdale's Phoenix Cement plant & about 1/3 the size of a proposed Seligman cement kiln that threatens Grand Canyon's air quality. Drake Cement's STACKS will release: particulates, sulfur dioxide, hydro-carbon, carbon monoxide, & oxide of nitrogen, into our now clean & clear northern Arizona air, at nearly 2,000 tons each year! CARBON MONOXIDE (which everyone knows gets emitted from a car's exhaust) IS DEADLY! Nitrogen oxide irritates eyes, nose & lungs & contributes to ozone depletion. A HUGE COST TO OUR LIVES & OUR ENVIRONMENT ( we sacrifice OUR HEALTH & OUR CLEAN AIR) JUST FOR CONCRETE! Mercury vapor is one of the dangerous pollutants that WILL ESCAPE the Drake Cement plant and it is hoped "THESE" EMISSIONS WILL NOT HARM OUR VERDE RIVER! Some sources of mercury pollution are smelting, cement plants, chemical plants, & coal-fired power plants. Cement plants are the 4th largest emitters of airborne mercury in the U.S. In 2007, cement plants emitted 11,177 pounds of mercury. From cement plants, mercury is primarily from coal burned to fire kilns & from the heating of limestone which contains mercury. (limestone is what produces cement). Coal is naturally contaminated with mercury & when burning coal, mercury is released into the air through the smokestacks. The writer of the article stated, "I wouldn't pick a cement kiln for a neighbor, but we had no choice...!"

    How can ...ANYONE approve of a cement plant that will pollute our environment and contaminate human bodies as well as that of animals, fish and wildlife! Just because the plant "MAY" HIRE SOME OF OUR UNEMPLOYED - a very few at that?

    The expected employees to be hired is 100 - "WHEN" THE PLANT OPERATES AT FULL CAPACITY! They have approximately 55 employees at last report and there will be NO FULL OPERATION OF THE PLANT (reported a recent website) "UNTIL THERE IS AN 'UPTURN' IN THE U.S. ECONOMY - which is not expected to be forthcoming in the near future! Just so approximately 40 people may gain employment, our clean, clear environment is endangered and with it, again, that of endangerment to our people's health and that of our future generations. etc....! Do leaders even consider all the consequences that can result from cement plants? It sounds like some unscrupulous leaders who failed to do their research again and were just out for investments, thinking or talked into (again), a money making "deal", no matter what the costs! Now, because Leaders have allowed the Drake cement to operate, we will be at the risk of LOSING OUR HEALTH &...

  2. Anonymous2:33 PM

    as you say carbon is emitted in mass volumes, note to self that the emissions from the stacks at drake cement do not release these deadly fumes do to complex re-circulation threw CKD and massive NOCS emission controllers that are monitored minute by minute. And further more the 40 plus jobs
    added to our already falling economy is a major help to the surrounding cities and mostly to the men and family's that work at Drake Cement