Some residents and neighbors of the proposed silica operation have raised numerous concerns about silica mining and processing, including affects on wells, truck traffic and possible effects from any blowing sand. After a series of hearings and reviews, Jordan Sands is poised to get a few final permits and begin construction of a plant this fall. Coughlan said they hope to have the business operational early next year.
The 125-year-old Mankato Kasota Stone was founded by Irish mason T.R. Coughlan, who immigrated to Canada and worked building railway bridges.
He heard about dolomitic limestone deposits in the Minnesota River Valley and arrived in Mankato in 1885 to strike his claim. He found a site that had three distinct veins of dolomite, offering a variety of warm colors and began a quarry that provided Mankato Kasota stone for local buildings, sidewalk pavers, curbs and bridges.
The Coughlan company continued operating the quarry with Robert and James Coughlan purchasing the property from their father in 1983, reconditioning and updating equipment.
Besides cutting dimensional stone from the quarries for building construction, Coughlan also leases quarry space to a company that breaks stone into aggregate. That operation continues.
Mining is Mankato's oldest industry, with the first quarry opening just a year after the town was founded in 1858.
The closing of Mankato Kasota Stone leaves only Vetter Stone among what was once an industry with several locally run quarries in town. Vetter is a major supplier of stone for buildings across the country and around the world, including the Smithsonian's recently built National Museum of the American Indian.
Cold Spring Granite does lease some quarry land in the area but sends the stone to its Cold Spring plant.