WAUCONDA – Columbia River Carbonates will be closing their quarry in Wauconda, and the loading station next to Janis Bridge in Tonasket.
“Unfortunately, the product is becoming a lower grade of stone, so CRC had to decide on a closure,” said Roger Sawyer, who contracts with CRC to bring the rock from the Wauconda quarry to Tonasket, to be loaded on trains.
“The railroad had a moderate, acceptable increase in cost for shipping, but it was due to the quality of the rock that the quarry shut down,” said Sawyer.
Sawyer and Sawyer Excavating began working with CRC when the quarry first opened in 1985, and now has 20 full-time employees.
Sawyer's father, Walter, started the excavating company in 1973, and in 2002 Roger took over sole ownership.
“Sawyer and Sawyer will continue to run for a little while, but CRC are on the final phases right now,” Sawyer said. “Not very many places have calcium carbonate. CRC purchased two more mines in Alaska two years ago, in preparation for this.”
CRC is located out of Woodland, Wash.
“After the rock is shipped to Woodland, it is shipped everywhere. There are 197 uses for the product, the number one use being for paper. It is also used in paints, glass and plastics,” said Sawyer.