Controversial rock quarry comes under new ownership

Posted 8/11/21

GOLDSTON — A rock quarry in southern Chatham County shrouded in controversy sold last week for more than $20 million to the Raleigh-based Fred Smith Company, which will continue mining for …

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Controversial rock quarry comes under new ownership

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Posted
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GOLDSTON — A rock quarry in southern Chatham County shrouded in controversy sold last week for more than $20 million to the Raleigh-based Fred Smith Company, which will continue mining for aggregates.

The property, located off State Road 2333, is just outside Goldston town limits, about 15 minutes northwest of Sanford. Between the quarry and two adjacent properties, about 250 acres changed hands in the $20.51 million transaction, according to county records.

The rock quarry’s previous owner, Daurity Springs Quarry, LLC, mined the land despite years-long opposition from Goldston residents and some Chatham leaders. The crushed stone and aggregates facility opened in late 2018, four years after DSQ acquired the land. The property sits beyond Goldston’s jurisdiction and a zoning technicality prevented Chatham County’s government from dictating what sort of industrial activity could take place.

Still, nearby residents expressed frequent rancor.

“There was a terrible explosion that rattled and shook my house sending me out the back porch thinking Goldston was experiencing an earthquake,” Marian Norton, a Goldston property owner, said in a public meeting when blasting first began. “Once outside, I could see a cloud of dust just behind the tree line.”

Several Chatham leaders, including Goldston resident and N.C. House Representative Robert Reives II and Goldston Mayor Tim Cunnup, expressed similar concerns over the years. They and others took umbrage at violent ground-shaking and questioned whether the mining operation might compromise nearby water quality. At least one military veteran experienced post traumatic stress symptoms from the explosions.

“It was very controversial when the rock quarry went in,” Cunnup told the News + Record last week. “There are neighbors, our folks on the south end of town, that I still seem to hear more from them about it than anything else.”

The Fred Smith Company, it appears, will maintain similar operations at the quarry. The civil infrastructure and construction firm — which has worked on such projects as Chatham’s new Seaforth High School and the Chatham U.S. Hwy. 64 interchange project — specializes in road construction and will use the quarry to supply raw materials.

“We expect to use the aggregates mined from this facility to supply multiple asphalt plants that we acquired last fall,” Brett Armstrong, senior vice president of strategic operations for construction partners, said in a prepared statement first reported by the Triangle Business Journal. “The facility’s proximity to our current operations enhances our project bidding opportunities and we believe will contribute to future growth in these markets.”

Representatives from the Fred Smith Company did not respond to the News + Record’s request for comment by press time Tuesday.

“I don’t know that folks would be in favor of it,” Cunnup said of continued mining. “But, unfortunately, the problem still is that we don’t really have any jurisdiction.”

The Fred Smith Company is a subsidiary of Construction Partners Inc. based in Dothan, Alabama, a civil infrastructure company with other quarries across Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

Reporter D. Lars Dolder can be reached at dldolder@chathamnr.com and on Twitter @dldolder.

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