Forest Service News Release
Contact: Brienne Pettit, Forest Public Affairs Officer, 928-310-6035, SM.FS.KaibabPAO@usda.gov
Operations to begin at Williams Pozzolan Mine
Williams, Arizona, December 6, 2021 — Drake Cement, LLC will soon be moving forward with the Williams Pozzolan Mine nine miles northeast of the City of Williams, AZ. The Kaibab National Forest has completed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review for Drake to mine natural pozzolan, a cement additive, on claims they hold in and around an existing quarry known as Frenchy Pit. Drake plans to begin site preparation – installing fencing and safety signage and staging equipment – after the new year and anticipate mining activity to start in late summer / early fall 2022.
Once in full operation, Drake plans to remove 300,000 to 500,000 tons of material annually over the course of 20 years within the 65-acre project area. Temporary plant facilities will be installed on site and removed at the end of mining. No blasting will occur as pozzolan deposits can be removed using standard open-pit mining methods and equipment such as excavators and bulldozers. Mining activity will occur during daylight hours mainly on weekdays, rarely on weekends. No mining will take place at night.
Material will be transported off site by truck via Forest/County Road 74 to Interstate 40. To reduce impacts to travelers on FR/CR 74, six safety turnouts will be installed, haul trucks will be limited to 15 mph, and no hauling will occur on weekends.
Pozzolan is a natural material that can be added to cement to strengthen and increase the density of concrete. It is an alternative to fly ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. With recent decreases in coal-fired power plants, the availability of fly ash is declining.
The Forest Service worked closely with neighboring Tribes and other partners to identify the potential effects of the mining operations and necessary mitigation and reclamation requirements. The mining area was designed to avoid sensitive resources such as known archaeological sites and wildlife habitat, and mitigation measures have been added to reduce the potential for adverse impacts to the landscape and the public. Mitigation measures, addressing dust control, storm water/erosion control, animal and public safety, and resource protection, are outlined in the Williams Pozzolan Mine Environmental Assessment (EA).
The EA and supplemental documents containing further details about the environmental review are available on the Kaibab NF’s project webpage, www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=58789. For additional information specific to the mining operations visit the Drake Cement website, www.drakeus.com, or contact David G. Chavez at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.