There’s a natural resource that brings millions of dollars to the Quad Cities Area economy every year.
Thousands of tons of limestone are mined at Linwood Mining and Minerals Corporation.
It’s shipped to companies across five states and Canada.
There are ways limestone is used that might surprise you: For roofing, glass blowing and in sugar, to name just a few.
It’s a $50 million industry that sits on the border of Buffalo and Davenport, Iowa.
“We meet need, we don’t create demand. We respond to people who need our product,” says Jonathan Wilmshurst, Linwood Mining President
About half of the money generated goes back into the local economy.
“The quality of what nature did… it’s pretty good stuff, so it comes straight out of the ground and for the most part goes straight into all these end uses,” Wilmshurst says.
That stuff? Limestone.
1.7 million tons of limestone are mined right under the grounds.
“I didn’t even know the depth of it, says Ben Bush, Linwood product supervisor.
Bush didn’t understand the scope until he started working here last year.
“Limestone is in everyone’s life on a daily basis, they might not just see it,” he says.
Once it’s mined about 250 feet underground, the mineral can be crushed.
“It’s about 94-96% calcium so when we’re crushing it up into very fine material it’s almost like a powder,” Bush explains.
“So, when they put our limestone in the cow’s feed that calcium will help replenish the calcium being lost when they’re being milked,” he says.
It can also be heated.
“Gasses are released [and] it loses about half of it’s density,” Bush says.
“Customers will mix it in with their steel making process in order to make purified, strong steel,” he says.
The product is then shipped by rail, truck or barge.
Bush’s family started these operations about a century ago and he hopes to help keep it running for generations to come.
“Hopefully continue on with my grandpa’s legacy,” Bush says.