Vulcan Materials buys West Coast Aggregates

Vulcan Materials has acquired the Pilarcitos Quarry just east of Half Moon Bay.

The sale, announced earlier this year, was part of a deal for four quarries between the Alabama-based Vulcan corporation and West Coast Aggregates.

The only major mining operation on the Coastside, Pilarcitos Quarry produces about 500,000 tons of granite material each year. Those products include concrete for building, asphalt for roads and rock boulders used to stop erosion.

West Coast Aggregates co-owner Dick DeAtley said his decision to sell was partly driven by his desire to retire. He started the company in 1990 with his brother, and they grew to encompass six mining operations in the Bay Area and Central Valley.

“I suppose, at 72 years old, I may not want to do this all my life,” he said. “You can ask my wife – I work six days a week.”

The acquisition comes at a strategic time and location for Vulcan, a publicly traded corporation. After years of recession-driven slowdown, Vulcan officials have made clear they believe the construction industry is bouncing back. The company bought the Pilarcitos Quarry as part of $320 million expansion focused mainly in the Western states. 

The amount paid for the Pilarcitos Quarry is not being disclosed per the terms of the deal, according to a Vulcan spokeswoman.

The company previously had only one other quarry operation near the urban Bay Area, according to DeAtley. The company began to study acquiring the Pilarcitos Quarry in late 2013, before finalizing the sale in July.

“This gives them the opportunity to surround the Bay Area market,” DeAtley said. “There aren’t many sites left for quarries. Period.”

The Pilarcitos Quarry became a much more lucrative property in recent months after San Mateo County officials signed off on a 70-year expansion plan that would grow the mining operation to cover 147 acres. As part of the expansion, West Coast Aggregates pledged to conserve 192 acres north of the mining site as natural habitat. After nearly three years of reviewing the proposal, the San Mateo County Planning officials gave final approval for the expansion in early 2013.

As part of the permits, caps are imposed on the quarry production and the number of trucks driving onto the property in order to limit the traffic burden on Highway 92.

By acquiring the quarry, Vulcan would honor those commitments in the permits, wrote company spokeswoman Barbara Goodrich-Welk in an email. She said the company has a good environmental track record.

The future would tell exactly how the new company manages the quarry, said Lennie 
Roberts, chairwoman of the Committee for Green Foothills. Roberts closely followed the expansion plans for the quarry, and she ultimately came to endorse the project.

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