LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - The company that runs the giant rock quarry in Columbia's Olympia neighborhood is promising to create a socially and environmentally responsible mining operation in Lexington County.
Vulcan Materials Company is speaking out after submitting its final permit application for the new quarry.
Vulcan says it has been listening to and considering the views of people in Lexington County worried about the proposed quarry between Gilbert and Batesburg-Leesville.
The company says that feedback has led to significant changes in its original plan.
Vulcan Materials is well known in the Columbia area, having run the massive quarry in the Olympia area for years, which is one of more than dozen operations statewide.
The company has been taking steps to expand into Lexington County over objections from some residents worried that the $40 million project will generate noise from blasting and mining machinery and dust -- generally disrupting their rural lifestyle.
Opponents have pushed for much larger buffer zones between their homes and the quarry and they've been concerned about other issues including water quality and danger from heavy truck traffic.
Company Vice President Jimmy Fleming says Vulcan understands and has modified its plans to include a much larger buffer zone and re-routed traffic.
"This is a constant process of listening to the community and doing our best to work with the community in what we're trying to accomplish with them," Fleming said. "I think we've gone a long way in terms of removing the truck traffic basically from their neighborhood. We've increased the buffer area so that a full 33 percent of our property is actually going to be utilized in buffers and setbacks."
Fleming says the company has a new website showing the Lexington County plans and providing answers to the community's questions.
Vulcan hopes to get started on the quarry project next year.