by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
Carmeuse Americas (CA), one of the community’s largest employers, at the start of seasonal operations has the help wanted sign out. The Great Lakes’ freighter Wilfred Sykes sailed into the Port of Calcite Friday at 4 p.m. to become the first boat of the season. It was loaded with the 20,000 tons of chemical stone headed to the Cleveland Cliffs operation in Cleveland. It took 21 hours to load.
“Of course, it came with some start-up issues, including obviously cold weather, frozen chunks etc., and our employees did the job safely and got the vessel out,” said site operations manager Mike Cirino. “Certainly, the weather from the previous week did not help.” The Rogers City area saw one of the largest snowfall events of the season with almost a foot of snow, March 25.
Cirino said it was a split load between the Calcite plant and CA’s Cedarville operation.
The second boat was loaded on Sunday and headed to Buffington Harbor at Gary, Indiana. The next vessel was supposed to arrive Wednesday (April 5).
The plant carried 118 employees through the winter, and once up to full operations, it will be up to 122.
“We are actively hiring active positions,” said Cirino. ‘We are looking for equipment operators, millwright maintenance, mill or boat loading.” The positions are posted on the hiring website, Indeed. Or you can contact the plant and we can direct you as well.”
Among the winter projects was north dock repairs that are ongoing, said Cirino.
“That’s to replace 400 feet of our wall that was put in during the 1950s,” he said. “There was a lot of model equipment rebuilds with our large loader and dozer.”
There was structural work done to the primary crusher building and in the mill, the company rebuilt or refurbished all four roll crushers.
“There was a big focus on screens and chute work,” said Cirino.
In the quarry, crews will continue removing overburden in and around Quarry View and this might be the final season the free tourist stop south of Rogers City is going to be open before it moves down the road, although the specifics of a new Quarry View have not been finalized.
“And then, the other heavy area of focus for both winter over burden removal and production stone is one what we call the north five area,” Cirino added.