Stafford County, Virginia
The mining industry in Stafford County presently includes operations that are conducted at five locations under mineral mine permits issued by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, Division of Mineral Mining. The mines primarily produce construction aggregate. The total area included under the permits is about 1,092 acres..
During 2007, six mining operations produced over 1.8 million short tons of crushed stone, sand and gravel valued at over 18.7 million dollars. Three of the six mines reported no production in 2007. The total tonnage in 2007 was about 33 percent lower than the tonnage reported in 2006, likely a reflection of reduced economic growth and the decreased demand for construction raw materials. The mines employed a total of 57 workers in 2007, not including independent contractors.. One mine, Ennstone’s Fredericksburg Sand and Gravel Pit, was closed in May 2007.
Vulcan Construction Materials quarried granite at the Stafford Quarry, located about 7 miles northwest of Stafford on State Route 610. Compared to the production level reported in 2006, the amount of crushed stone produced by the quarry in 2007 decreased by about 35 percent. Vulcan also maintained an active permit at the West Lake Quarry, located just south of State Route 17 near Payne Corner. No production has been reported from this quarry since originally permitted in 1992. Sand and gravel were produced for building, paving and other construction uses by P. C. Goodloe & Son, Inc., at the Snowden Farm Pit located about 6.5 miles east of Fredericksburg, and by Ennstone, Inc., at the Albion Plant located about 5 miles southeast of Fredericksburg, both just off of State Route 3.
In the past, sand and gravel resources have been mined at sites in eastern and southern Stafford County for building, paving, ballast, fill, and other purposes. Several of the more important inactive sand and gravel producers include:
- Dominion Sand & Gravel Corporation, northeast of Garrisonville, 1961-1962,
- Fredericksburg Sand and Gravel, 1961-1970s,
- Culpeper Stone Company, Inc., east of Fredericksburg, 1983-1996,
- Electric Generating Co., near Falmouth, 1908-1912,
- Burkeholder & Burkeholder Construction, northeast of Rappahannock River, 1980s?,
- Jobe Newton, near State Road 607, east of Fredericksburg, 1961-1973,
- S. J. Grove and Sons Co., northeast of Garrisonville, 1962-1964.
Historically, sandstone from the Aquia Formation (Cretaceous age) was quarried for use as building stone, from about 1750 to 1840. The Aquia Creek quarries, located on Wigginton’s Island, were purchased by the U.S. Government in 1791. Stone cut from these quarries was used in the construction of a number of landmark buildings in Washington, D.C., including the White House, the old portion of the Capitol Building, and the U.S. Treasury building. Quarries located to the north of Aquia Creek produced sandstone that was marketed as “Aquia Freestone, The Stone of Colonial Virginia” (Sweet, 1990).
The Division of Geology and Mineral Resources previously published assessments of potential clay resources, including sample areas in the eastern portion of Stafford County. Calver and others (1961), provided descriptions and laboratory test results for nine clay samples that were found to be potentially suitable for the manufacture of refractories, tile, brick, and additional structural clay products. Five samples of Cretaceous-age clay collected in the eastern part of the County were found to be suitable for making low heat duty fire brick (refractories). Two samples, taken just north and south of Accokeek Creek are suitable for the manufacture of brick and tile. A sample collected just south of Aquia Station, and another along State Route 669 just northeast of Sullivan, indicated no potential use for structural clay products.
Gold was historically mined or prospected in the southwestern part of Stafford County in the region just west of Holly Corner. The principle mines included the Eagle, Horse Pen, Rattlesnake, Pris-King, Elliot Farm, Wise Farm, Monroe, and New Hope Mine (Sweet and Trimble, 1983). Other important prospects included the Lee and Macdonald properties. The estimated total production of gold from these mines exceeds 5,000 ounces, with most of this recovered from the Eagle Mine. The gold mines and prospects are situated in the northern portion of the Gold-Pyrite Belt, a mineralized zone that extends from central Appomattox County northeastward to the Potomac River in Fairfax County (Lonsdale, 1927).
Pyrite was mined intermittently between 1906 and 1920 at a site along Austin Run near Garrisonville. Austin Run Mining Company, Old Dominion Pyrite Company, Western Pyrite Company, and Fer-Sul Company are among the operators that produced over 3,800 tons of pyrite during this period (Lonsdale, 1927). The primary market for the pyrite was in the production of sulfuric acid for industrial uses. Pyrite was also prospected at a locality northeast of Garrisonville. Iron was mined from brown iron ore (gossan) along Accokeek Creek prior to the Revolutionary War. The ore was processed at the Accokeek Furnace, which operated from 1726 to 1753. The mine was reportedly operated by Augustine Washington, father of George Washington (Lonsdale 1927).
Diatomaceous earth, a soft, siliceous sedimentary rock used as an abrasive, an absorbent, and in filtration applications, has been found in the far eastern part of the County, northeast of Fredericksburg . Glauconitic marl, also called greensand, frequently used as a natural fertilizer, occurs at localities in the eastern part of the County (Clark and others, 1912). Slate occurrences have been documented along the Fall Zone in the vicinity of Garrisonville and Mountain View (Watson, 1907).
Stafford County Geologic Map
Stafford County Geologic Map unit descriptions
Stafford County Historical Mineral Resource Sites
Stafford County Mineral Production, 2007
Stafford County Mineral Resource Industry Data, 2007
Stafford County Active Mine Permits, 2007
Virginia Mineral Production, 1986-present
Virginia County Active Mines, 1990-present
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Sweet, P.C., 1990, Present and future dimension stone industry in Virginia, in: Zupan A.W., and Maybin, A.H. (eds), Proceedings of the 24th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals, May 2-5, 1988, Greenville, South Carolina, p. 129-135.
Webb, H.W., and Sweet, P.C., 1992, Interesting uses of stone in Virginia – Part I, Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Virginia Minerals, V38, No 4.
Calver, J.L., Hamlin, H.P., and Wood, R.S., 1961, Analyses of clay, shale, and related materials – northern counties: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Mineral Resources Report 2, p. 170-182.
Sweet, P.C., 1982, Virginia clay material resources: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 36, p. 112-113.
Clark, W.B., Miller, B.L., Berry, E.W., and Watson, T.L., 1912, Physiography and geology of the Coastal Plain Province of Virginia: Virginia Geological Survey Bulletin 4, p.127-128.
General – mineral production
Gilmer, A.K., Enomoto, C.B., Lovett, J.A., and Spears, D.B., 2005, Mineral and fossil fuel production in Virginia (1999-2003): Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Open-File Report 05-04.
Clark, W.B., Miller, B.L., Berry, E.W., and Watson, T.L., 1912, Physiography and geology of the Coastal Plain Province of Virginia: Virginia Geological Survey Bulletin 4, p. 90-95, 248-249.
Watson, T.L., 1907, Mineral resources of Virginia: The Virginia Jamestown Exposition Commission, J.P. Bell Company, Lynchburg, Virginia, p. 553-554.
Lonsdale, J.T., 1927, Geology of the Gold-Pyrite Belt of the northeastern Piedmont Virginia: Virginia Geological Survey Bulletin 30, p. 84-85.
Luttrell, G.W., 1966, Base- and precious-metal and related ore deposits of Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Mineral Resources Report 7, 167 p.
Sweet, P. C., 1982, Gold occurrences in Virginia, an update: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Virginia Minerals v. 28, n. 4, p. 33-41.
Sweet, P. C., and Trimble, D., 1983, Virginia gold resource data: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Publication 45, p. 183-192.
Steidtmann, E., 1945, Commercial granites and other crystalline rocks of Virginia: Virginia Geological Survey Bulletin 64, p. 41.
Watson, T.L., 1907, Mineral resources of Virginia: The Virginia Jamestown Exposition Commission, J.P. Bell Company, Lynchburg, Virginia, p. 468.
Lonsdale, J.T., 1927, Geology of the Gold-Pyrite Belt of the northeastern Piedmont Virginia: Virginia Geological Survey Bulletin 30, p. 85.
Lonsdale, J.T., 1927, Geology of the Gold-Pyrite Belt of the northeastern Piedmont Virginia: Virginia Geological Survey Bulletin 30, p. 9-10, 89-90.
Poole, J.L., 1973, Iron sulfide mines in Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources Virginia Minerals v. 19, n. 3, p. 29-33.
Sand and gravel
Wentworth, C.K., 1930, Sand and gravel resources of the Coastal Plain of Virginia: Virginia Geological Survey Bulletin 32, p. 89-91, 132-133.
Watson, T.L., 1907, Mineral resources of Virginia: The Virginia Jamestown Exposition Commission, J.P. Bell Company, Lynchburg, Virginia, p. 51.