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Lafarge buys Kellstone quarry on Kelleys Island

Mar, 11 2004

Lafarge buys Kellstone quarry on Kelleys Island Business MARBLEHEAD, Ohio -- Lafarge North America, the owner of the Marblehead quarry, has purchased the Kellstone quarry on Kelleys Island for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition was finalized last week. The Kellstone quarry was owned by the Palladino family, which also operates Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Lines. The Kellstone quarry annually produces more than 1 million tons of limestone, most of which is shipped to downtown Cleveland via barge for sale as construction aggregate. The quarry encompasses about 200 acres on the southwest portion of Kelleys Island. "It complements our existing Marblehead quarry," said Chris Beeman, business development manager for Lafarge North America's Great Lakes division. "We were very happy to have the opportunity to make the acquisition, and we look forward to its success. "We do not plan on disrupting the operation in any way. We are currently preparing for spring start-up, and we are going through the interview process. It is our intent to continue an adequate workforce." Also included in the deal was Kellstone's Cleveland loading dock, located at the Cuyahoga River. The island quarry on Bookerman Road employs about 25 workers, Kellstone general manager Ralph Kunar said. As of Monday morning, he said no changes had been made by the new owners. "It's in its infancy right now," he said. Kunar did not know when the quarry will reopen for the 2004 mining season. A message seeking comment was left Monday for August Palladino. Rumors about the potential sale have circulated for some time. Beeman said Lafarge expressed interest in the Kellstone facility over the past several years, but serious discussions did not begin until about four months ago. Lafarge's Marblehead quarry produces 3.5 million to 4 million tons of limestone per year. Beeman said the quarry sale will have no impact on Kelleys Island Boat Lines. He also said employment levels at the Marblehead quarry won't be affected. Lafarge's Great Lakes division manages large aggregate operations in Detroit, Cleveland, Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Beeman said limestone mined at Kellstone might be shipped to those locations in the future, depending on market conditions. According to its Web site, Lafarge North America is the U.S. and Canada's largest diversified supplier of construction materials such as cement and cement-related products, ready-mixed concrete, gypsum wallboard, aggregates, asphalt and concrete products. Net sales in 2003 exceeded $3.3 billion.

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