Open File Report 1994-15

Open File Report 1994-15

OFR 1994-15

A Review of Alberta Limestone Production, Marketing, Distribution and Future Development Possibilities

Author(s) Holter Geological Services Date 1994-02-01

The current study was initiated following the acceptance of a proposal submitted to the Canada-Alberta Partnership on Minerals program in June, 1993. The objectives, relevant to a study of the limestone industry in Alberta, were as follows: 1. Review the industry as it now stands by evaluating the currently producing sites in terms of geological, quality, and reserve parameters of the quarries; plant operations; types and quantities of products manufactured; and distribution and marketing systems now employed. 2. Identify excess shipping distances with respect to closer undeveloped deposits that might supply an equivalent product. 3. Determine local markets for limestone-derived products which are not currently satisfied by Alberta sources and match in-province production to these conditions. 4. Research the status of current technologies for possible application of more sophisticated limestone processing procedures and the industrial usage of resultant byproducts. Acceptance and final approval of the proposed project was established in October, 1993 and preliminary efforts to contact industry and government information sources was initiated immediately. These efforts resulted in some data collection and visits to most of the quarries and plants in November and December. However, due to other contract commitments full-time efforts could not be extended to the project until January, 1994.

Starting on January 3, 1994 the writer began another round of visits to limestone operators and facilities to follow up on the original contact work. A questionnaire was also faxed to the five major companies outlining detailed data requirements for the study. During the ensuing weeks, prior to the deadline for project completion, some responses were received and repeat visits were made to company offices in Edmonton and Calgary. For the most part, industry cooperation was favorable but some exceptions have resulted in an incomplete data base. It is especially noteworthy that product marketing and distribution information was not made completely available. This was deemed to be an understandable outcome in view of the fact that the limestone industry has been a highly competitive business in western Canada for many years and such information is considered confidential by some companies. The daily pressures of business commitments undoubtedly prevented some operators from responding within the time frame allocated to this study.

The resultant study may be biased towards technical aspects of geological and operational aspects of the industry more so than economic aspects since the former proved to be more generally available. Marketing and distribution documentation is largely based on comments and insights provided by a variety of individuals familiar with the current status of the industry. This input has been particularly useful in cases where documented facts and statistics are not readily accessible.