Abandoned quarry revived to produce benefits for agriculture and new jobs

In 2019, Lime Stone Cowboys Industries Limited received a $50,000 grant from Northern Development through the Northern Industries Innovation Fund program towards this $703,812 project. This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development

Photo: Lime Stone Cowboys

Peace Region company receives $50,000 rebate to purchase limestone processing equipment

In B.C.’s Peace Region, Lime Stone Cowboys Industries Limited saw potential to support the area’s agricultural industry and food supply chain in an abandoned limestone quarry that has one of the highest concentrations of pure limestone in North America. They worked hard for three years to develop the quarry into a resource capable of producing high quality organic agricultural lime (aglime) for farmers and while continuing to supply other limestone products for projects in B.C.’s northeast, such as the Site C Clean Energy Project, oil and gas reclamation projects, mine reclamation ponds and others.

“The money we received was very helpful with the cost of permitting our quarry,” said Kurt Strachan, co-owner, Lime Stone Cowboys.

In 2019 the company was approved for a $50,000 rebate through Northern Development’s Northern Industries Innovation Fund to help with the processing of mined limestone, including the purchase of prilling and grinding equipment.

Graphs demonstrating the benefits of liming for crop yields.
Graphs: Lime Stone Cowboys

“Farmers can improve the soil quality of acidic soils by liming to adjust the pH to the levels needed by the crop to be grown,” Strachan explained. “Benefits of liming include increased nutrient availability, improved soil structure and increased rates of infiltration.”

The addition of aglime to crop fields has other positive benefits, including increased drought tolerance, increased resistance to crop disease (including club root), increased plant density, protein increase in forage crops and more. Limestone also reduces the soil’s reliance on fertilizer which results in reduced costs.

Lime Stone Cowboys is anticipated to provide 15 new permanent and 16 seasonal jobs within its first three years of production. The revival of the limestone quarry introduces new products and services to the Peace Region. Prior to the quarry opening, the nearest limestone quarry was in Exshaw, Alberta, more than 900 kilometres southeast of the quarry in Chetwynd. This distance makes transportation costs prohibitive for the agricultural community in northeast B.C. Now, customers can conveniently purchase local limestone products with the option of renting field liming trailers to assist with the aglime application.

The Northern Industries Innovation Fund provides funding to eligible applicants for projects that create new jobs and increase revenue in innovative ways. The program offers a rebate of up to 50 per cent of an eligible project’s budget, to a maximum of $50,000. All available funds for the Northern Industries Innovation Fund have been committed for the 2020 calendar year. The program will re-open in 2021 and will resume accepting applications at that time.

Positive Economic Impacts in Chetwynd

Lime Stone Cowboys receives $50,000 rebate to purchase limestone processing equipment to benefit the agricultural industry.

Northern Industries Innovation Fund

The Northern Industries Innovation Fund (NIIF) program provides incremental funding to support innovation projects that increase the competitiveness of local businesses in traditional industries across Northern B.C. The program is also intended to support economic diversification and/or viability of businesses to mitigate the economic impact of the pine beetle epidemic. NIIF supports applied research and development, new or improved products and services, and testing of innovative equipment or technologies to support capital investment decisions

View Funding Program

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