Pt.3) Enter the Fantini; First New Colorado Yule Marble Quarry Portal in 100 Years, 1942 to 2018

THE STORY OF COLORADO YULE MARBLE AT MARTINCOONEY.COM

Part 3

1942 to 2019

Enter the Fantini

Italian marble quarrying knowledge, experience, and financial investment, steps in to create the first Colorado Yule Marble portal in 100 years, and the quarry is back in business like never before.

photo Ron Bailey

Whilst these days the quarry is proving a success things were looking decidedly gloomier back in 1942. Almost immediately upon delivery of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to Washington DC, the Yule marble quarry is once again shuttered and closed.  The between war mini-boom well and truly over, just as in a similar manner the quarry had declared bankruptcy just six months after delivery of the last piece of marble for the Lincoln Memorial, a project they managed to complete six months ahead of time, on budget and to the widespread admiration of one and all.

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1942. BUST again! The United States enters World War Two as the world’s largest marble mill is dismantled, and the railroad tracks torn up.

1945. World War Two is over, but the town of Marble of endures another catastrophic flood, just 4 years after the last one. At one point the town’s population dipped to just one; Theresa Herman, the school teacher.

The Town of Marble, Colorado, Townscape

1956. The town of Marble’s population shows 26 registered voters.

 

1986. Steps are taken to reopen the Yule marble quarry, for the third time.  And in true Yule marble quarry tradition following in the footsteps of John C. Osgood and Channing F. Meek, this time around it came about via the efforts of Denver oilman Stacy Dunn.

1989. Disaster strikes Yule marble, yet again, as the quarries’ new owner, Stacy Dunn, follows a similar fate to that of Channing Meek, back in 1912.  But whereas Meek died jumping to avoid a “runaway” rail car, Stacy Dunn was to die in an “automobile accident”. 

“Stacy Dunn, 35, of Evergreen, Colo., died Thursday, April 27, 1989, at Buena Vista, Colo., of injuries sustained in an automobile accident”. A curse, coincidence or what? Extreme bad luck at the very least.

1997. As with the original Colorado Yule Marble Company eight decades prior, their fates were combined when the new Colorado Yule Marble Company was declared bankrupt. The Colorado Yule Marble Company assets are acquired by Bath Stone of England –  none other than the first company to give me work immediately upon gaining the Banker Masonry NVQ Level 2 qualifications that I attained at the City of Bath College. An odd coincidence, I know.

Bath Stone held possession of the quarry for two years, before selling it on to Rex Loseby of Sierra Minerals.

1999. Whatever the profit, motivation, or degree of success achieved by Bath Stone of England regarding keeping the operation at least a ‘going concern’, little seems to have materialized in terms of actual marble quarrying. Just two years on they are selling the quarry to Sierra Minerals, who are often these days cited as “reopening” the quarry.

 

The company is now run by Rex Loesby, who had previously pulled out of his involvement with the earlier attempt by the Colorado Yule Marble Companies’ to revive the quarry. This time however he holds what I am sure he thought was a sustainable plan, for Loesby had acquired the contract to supply none other than the Veterans Administration with marble for the national cemetery headstones. He is to run the quarry for 5 years, until ownership passes on to Canadian company, Polycor.

2004. Rex Loseby’s Sierra Minerals sells the quarry to Quebec based company Polycor, under the name Colorado Stone Quarries Incorporated, with much of the marble production exported to Italy. They run the operation until the crash of ’08, from whence the recession put the kibosh on any and all plans, dreams and schemes that Loseby had for his quarry.

2008 World Wars, recessions, deadly ‘accidents’, and scandalous betrayals: the unfortunate Colorado has born the brunt of them all. Once again, the aging quarry suffers the indignity of closure. This time it was the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Suffering the same turmoil, disappointment and despair that sideswiped many of us during this most desperate period, the company limped on until the grim facts of reality force operations to cease, by December 2009 Polycor had shuttered Yule marble, all Yule marble operations; the lights were out, and the jobs gone.

2010 Fortunately for everyone with an appreciation for Colorado’s state rock and America’s finest white marble, at the point when all seemed doom and gloom, up steps Mr. Enrico Luciani of Carrara, Italy., who takes possession of the quarry in October.  Polycor however retained the purchasing rights to the North American market, while the industrious Mr. Luciani I’m sure will make use of his extensive contacts in Carrara, Italy, and the rest of Europe, to ensure that such exquisite, and now exquisitely quarried, top quality marble will reach the market that it truly deserves.

2011 Under the seasoned, experienced, and watchful eye of new owner Enrico Luciani, on behalf of the RED Graniti partnership, Colorado Yule Marble is not only reopened for business, but relaunched as a concept, and tied to quarrying concepts forged and developed over many centuries in and around his home town of Carrara, Italy.

Mr. Enrico Locati Luciani

Red Graniti Website Link

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At long last, and for the first time in over 125 years of marble quarrying endeavor, a wealth of experience, along with direct line to the billions of dollars garnered by the international marble industry, places Colorado Yule Marble firmly within the grasp of architects and designers the world around.

And so it was that in January of 2011 Mr. Luciani restarts the marble quarrying operations, just three months after his taking possession.  However, as we shall see, all similarities between previous changes in Yule marble quarry ownership, management, methods and practices to this point bear little resemblance to the arrival of Mr. Enrico Luciani of Carrara, a man whom (if I am not greatly mistaken) retains all the necessary requirements to follow, and build upon, the incredible efforts of John C. Osgood and Channing Meek, in at last making Colorado Yule Marble a familiar name in interior design, both commercial and residential, and of course sculpture the world around.

2011 Coincidence dictates that at the moment Mr. Enrico Luciani of Carrara, Italy, was taking the reigns at the Yule marble quarry, I, Martin Cooney of Preston, England, was busy at work, just 23 miles distant (as the eagle flies) splitting and carving a well-seasoned ten ton slab of the Yule marble, at some point drilled, wire cut, then ekeed out of the quarry by his predecessors many, many years prior.

2012 Under Enrico Luciani’s careful management work begins to drive a new portal into the seam of unique white marble at the newly formed Colorado Stone Quarries Incorporated quarry. In an interview with the Aspen Times Mr. Luciani’s fervent confidence, assurance, optimism and excitement, is on full display, his boundless enthusiasm proving most infectious. This is “the first new portal into the seam in more than 100 years.” boasts the quarry’s administrative manager, Kimberly Perrin, who goes on to inform the paper that “this will bring us 65 to 100 years of production”.

“This is the future of the quarry”, reveals Enrico Locati Luciani, indicating the new Fantini cutting machine that he had recently purchased at a cost of $700,000. “We know the material is, ah, very nice” he said.

photo Ron Bailey

“We love artists, we will always sell to artists” announces quarry admin manager Kimberly Perrin, even though less than one percent of all finished marble is bought by sculptors. “I have lots of ideas for this quarry” confides Mr. Luciani.  One of his ideas is to create a fabrication and finishing plant as close to the quarry as possible, which in turn will greatly reduce current transportation costs, whereby the huge quarry blocks are shipped, at great expense, to be worked in Italian marble shops. Furthermore a handsome, efficient and prominent marble operation could prove to be an interesting and attractive tourist center, and thereby greatly assist in raising the profile of our Colorado State Rock, the amazing Colorado Yule Marble.

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This video appears on the excellent and informative

coloradostonequarries.com website………link

produced by

Aspen 82

Published on Jun 1, 2016

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2016 Considering the tumultuous history of Colorado Yule Marble – the many bankruptcies, lost fortunes and even, in the case of Channing Meek and Stacy E, Dunn, lost lives – to anyone with even scant knowledge of the staggering logistics of quarrying pristine blocks of marble at 9,300 feet, the sudden and miraculous recent turn of events would have seemed something of a miracle.

For not just the hostile nature of the Rocky Mountain terrain has been working against the various companies and regimes tasked with extracting the marble, but given the extreme distance from practically all of the major US markets, combined with the inability for even successful projects such as the Lincoln Memorial to recover the astronomical infrastructure costs, and it is perhaps no surprise that, although a major factor in the quarry’s endless struggle for survival, it wasn’t so much a lack of financial investment that plagued each enterprise, but a chronic lack of marble quarrying experience.

Now however I think it safe to say that all lovers of Colorado Yule Marble can at last breathe a sigh of relief.  Not only has the Italian-owned Red Graniti poured vast amounts of capital into the project, best of all, these are the real experts, as evidenced by an impressive resume of Carrara marble quarrying experience garnered by the quarry’s expert management and staff.

photo Ron Bailey

Acording to https://www.redgraniti.com/en/

“The company philosophy pursues, from the beginning of the activity, the policy of controlling the sources of production in the world.
RED GRANITI owns quarries in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Brazil, United States and Finland. Most of the materials extracted from the owned quarries reach the deposits of Massa and Verona (Italy), Vigo (Portugal), Stettin (Poland), Antwerp (Belgium), Rijeka (Croatia) and Vitoria (Brazil).”

The Massa (Italy) office is connected to 9 other commercial companies, located in the key points of the world stone markets (Spain, France, Poland, India, Brazil, United States, South Africa, China and Switzerland). With the traditional marketing of raw blocks, thanks to modern processing plants, a wide range of semi-finished products ready for the creativity of architects, designers and an increasingly demanding clientele that finds RED the logical and natural response to its own complex necessities.”

2011.  Under the seasoned, experienced, and watchful eye of new owner Enrico Luciani, on behalf of the RED Graniti partnership, Colorado Yule Marble is not only reopened for business, but relaunched as a concept, and tied to quarrying concepts forged and developed over many centuries in and around his home town of Carrara, Italy.

Acording to https://www.redgraniti.com/en/ 

“RED GRANITI, leader in the extraction of blocks from its own quarries, has built its core business around quality of materials for more than fifty years. Present in the world’s main stone quarrying locations, it sets “quality” as its term of reference: each block is checked, controlled and cataloged. Meticulous selection allows excellent yields, constant supply quality and complete customer satisfaction.”

“Red Graniti has now been supplying a fast range of semi-finished products for a number of years, partly originating from modern processing plants close to the production locations. Each slab guarantees the same quality standards, checks and selection process as the raw blocks.”

“The Red Graniti distribution network is present in all the main luxury stone consumer countries. The offering covers most materials currently available on the world markets: from block to slab, RED guarantees quality, on-schedule delivery and constant service.”

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Volvo’s Big Rig Vid

volvospiritmagazine.com 

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This video was posted on the Volvo Spirit Magazine website on Friday, November 11, 2016 – West Edition #23

https://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/volvo-helps-extract-rich-reward-at-treasure-mountain/31404

“Cited as a rival to the Italian marbles of classic notoriety, Colorado’s Yule marble is celebrated as one of the purest marbles ever quarried, and has adorned many legendary monuments and buildings, including the Lincoln Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Although its almost snowy whiteness and uniformity once made it a sought after stone, quarrying the Yule marble was deemed uneconomical due to its remote location. By the mid-twentieth century, production in the state ceased and remained dormant for nearly 50 years.”

“However, excavation of the exquisite stone is experiencing a renaissance, due to Carrara-based R.E.D. Graniti. As the leading stone producer in Italy, R.E.D. Graniti assumed ownership of the Colorado Yule marble quarry in 2011. R.E.D Graniti operates the quarry, located in the aptly named city of Marble, Colo., under the name of Colorado Stone Quarries. Today, the company holds all mineral rights to a 26-hectacre section of land, known as Treasure Mountain, rich in high-quality marble.”

“During the assessment of the quarry, general manager Daniele Treves and quarry master, Stefano Mazzucchelli located a new vein of stone. To access this new source of stone, the Lincoln Gallery, named after the Lincoln Memorial, was unearthed. This new vein, Calacatta Lincoln, is now the top-selling stone worldwide for R.E.D. Graniti.”

“To meet the growing demand of the Calacatta Lincoln marble, Colorado Stone Quarries employs a crew of 40 in its year-round operations. Because the stone is extracted with precision cuts, rather than blasting, the company relies on a fleet of 30 machines that includes Volvo L350F, L330E, L120E and L90E wheel loaders, an ECR58D compact short swing radius excavator, EC340D and EC480D crawler excavators and an A35D articulated hauler.”

“Inside the Lincoln Gallery, crews work on two levels. On the lower level, after the initial cuts are made, a Volvo EC340D or EC480D excavator slides deftly into place and uses its bucket teeth to loosen the stones, gently placing them onto the gallery floor for the L350F wheel loader to load out. Once the large blocks are removed, a Volvo L90E wheel loader with pallet forks repositions the saw for the next round of cuts. On the second level, the marble blocks are skillfully sliced from the rock face and extracted using the block forks on the L350F.

The two Volvo L350F wheel loaders are the mine’s workhorses, clocking up to 10 hours a day.

“Both of the L350F loaders have the Volvo standard duty block handler kit and forks, which can carry up to 65,000 pounds,” said Troy Langston, of the Volvo CE dealership Power Equipment Company, based in near-by Grand Junction, Colo.”

“The L350F is known for its high capacity and outstanding rim pull. The standard Volvo block handler kit boosts capacity for lifting and withstands the rugged conditions of block handling. Because these loaders use the same linkage systems as standard machines, they can easily swap tools and be used as bucket handlers to load trucks; an advantage over competitor machinery equipped with shortened booms.”

“Colorado Stone Quarries replaced its entire fleet of equipment when it purchased the mines. When the operations management reviewed bids, bottom line price was not the only factor taken into consideration. Total cost of ownership and dedicated dealer support influenced the decision to buy Volvo machines, especially due to the heavy duty cycling work of the loaders and the remote location.”

“Langston added that the Volvo 3.5 gal. (16 L) engine produces higher torque at a low rpm. “On fuel costs alone, Colorado Stone Quarries can save $70,000 over four years on each L350F,” he said. Fuel economy sold the loaders to management, but the Volvo cab won the praise of the machine operators. “I move rock for 10 hours each day, so I like the comfort of the Volvo wheel loader,” said operator David Porter. “My back doesn’t hurt, and it is easy to steer with the joystick controls. We are picking up blocks weighing more than 50,000 pounds and the power is still there.”

“Two Power Equipment Company service technicians carry out preventive and routine maintenance on the Volvo units and other equipment, including the stone saws. “We chose Volvo equipment for the quality of the machines and the uptime support we receive from Power Equipment,” Treves added.”

photo Ron Bailey

“Once the marble blocks are selected and carved from the face, they are washed and trimmed to size. Each block is inspected and approved, then loaded onto flatbed semi-trucks and hauled to a logistics stockyard in Delta, Colo. From there, the majority are sent by rail to Norfolk, Va., and transferred to containers ready for shipping to Italy. When the stone arrives in Carrara, it is sold to companies specializing in the supply of cut-to-size material for projects all over the world.”

“R.E.D. Graniti’s marble expert, Marco Pezzica, travels to Colorado several times a year to inspect and cherry-pick the blocks that are ultimately exported. “It’s very important that production matches the market request,” he said.”

“In addition to Calacatta Lincoln, Treasure Mountain also yields Statuario Colorado and Calacatta Golden. Pezzica describes a perfect example of Calacatta Lincoln as bold white with brown and gray veining and slight brownish fading of the surrounding veins. “This is what makes our material famous — and expensive — and the only place in the world we produce exactly the same type of stone as the original in Carrara is here in Colorado,” he said.”

Carrara Marble Quarries

Yule Marble Quarry

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VOLVO SPOKESMEN

“A lot of repair up here, it’s pretty hard on the equipment, but they do a good job up here with the equipment and we do our best to keep it running for them. They scrapped all the older equipment and we came in here with a Volvo solution for them. They currently run a couple of L350Fs, it’s the larges loader Volvo makes.”

STEFANO MAZZUCHELLI: Quarry Master

“I work in the quarry (industry) about 38 years. I love the (Yule) marble, I love it because usually in a regular quarry we recover about 20 to 25 percent, right here we are recovering about 60 to 80 percent, so it is all good marble.”

DANIEL PENFIELD: Quarry Safety Manager

“The future of Colorado Stone Quarries looks very good. Since I’ve been here we’ve gone from having our strictly lower (100 year-old) workings, to opening portals 5, 6 and 7. We’ve made major investments in equipment, safety, and every aspect of quarrying up here.”

MARCO PEZZICA: Italian Marketing Manager

“I am from Italy, my home town is Carrara, which is considered the capitol in the world for the excavation of white marble, and my family has been in this business for generations. What to say? It is amazing.

Many years of my life all over the world to see quarries, but not even in Carrara do you see quarries with such a pattern and uniformage. Not at all.”

DANIELE TREVES: General Manager

“Every day when you pull one block, you are there like everything is new. Because you know what you have in front, in your face, but you never know what is at the back. It’s a challenge, every day. Every day it is a challenge.

The challenge here is first to keep open the quarry all year long, but we ‘not lost a single day of work. We are able to work five days a week, all year long, of course!

All the equipment we have here for quarrying the block, everything is from Italy. Not because we are Italy, but because I believe in the world we are the best in the business of the marble.

We have a good crew, a good team. I am happy when they get home.”

Colorado Stone Quarries estimates that it has 1.5 million cubic meters of marble remaining, enough to last them for another hundred years. At the time of writing 90 percent of extracted marble is shipped to Italy, while 10 percent stays in the USA. However, word has it that before the year is out Red Graniti plan to open a brand new fabrication plant in or near the town of Delta, Colorado, just down the road from the quarry.  As yet I have to hear, see or read of the specifics, but when I do I shall relay the details pronto.

At long last, and for the first time in over 125 years of marble quarrying endeavor, a wealth of experience, along with direct line to the billions of dollars garnered by the international marble industry, places Colorado Yule Marble firmly within the grasp of architects and designers the world around.

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The Marble from Marble

Part 3

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THE STORY OF COLORADO YULE MARBLE AT MARTINCOONEY.COM

1942 to 2018

Enter the Fantini

Italian marble quarrying knowledge, experience, and financial investment, steps in to create the first Colorado Yule Marble portal in 100 years, and the quarry is back in business like never before.

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Thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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