ST. CLOUD - This week for our "Behind the Scenes" series we took a trip to a charcoal granite quarry mine in south St. Cloud.

If you’re a St. Cloud local, you know that granite is a huge deal for Central Minnesota. The Coldspring Granite Company has been in the stone business for over 115 years. The stone they mine has been used in numerous projects around the world through the years.

The charcoal quarry mine we visited is located in south St. Cloud. The mine has been in operation since 1982. Dale Schmitt is the mine supervisor and has been working at the location since it opened, he says many local projects and locations in St. Cloud feature granite taken from the site.

"You can go down to the Lake George area and you can see our stone down there-and I don't think a lot of people from this area know we produced that stone in their backyard," Schmitt says.


At this location Granite is taken off the walls and broken into smaller pieces. This is done with large machinery that can smash and cut the stone.

Schmitt says these blocks are then taken to the Coldspring headquarters to be used.

"Basically we take big chunks of granite and turn it into usable dimensional stone blocks that go into the Cold Spring site for fabrication," Schmitt says.

Only a handful of people work on this large site. Recent improvements with technology and machinery have made the process smoother and more efficient.

"Today we're down to about five guys and we're producing more stone today than back in the old days with 22 guys," Schmitt says.

Safety is heavily emphasized on the site and there have been no major injuries since the location opened in 1982. The location is inspected twice a year by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Coldspring also stresses sustainability in its quarry mines. A company initiative is calling for 100 percent of materials to be used that are taken from the ground by the year 2020. Coldspring currently recycles more than 95 percent of the water that it uses in its operations.


Charcoal Quarry located in south St. Cloud. (Dan DeBaun, WJON News)
Charcoal Quarry located in south St. Cloud. (Dan DeBaun, WJON News)

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