Southeastern Section - 64th Annual Meeting (19–20 March 2015)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:10 AM


FOUSEK, Bob, FMR Inc, PO Box 2765, Auburn, AL 36831, COOK, Robert B., Geology and Geography, Auburn University, 210 Petrie Hall, Auburn, AL 36849 and GLOVER, Alex, Active Minerals International, 4931 Riverside Dr., Building 200, Suite A, Macon, GA 31210,

The Lookout Mountain Iron Company was formed by a group of investors headed by Colonel John Gordon Battelle, Columbus, Ohio, following the discovery of iron ore hosted in the Silurian Red Mountain Formation north of Valley Head, Alabama. Construction of an iron furnace, 150 beehive coke ovens, and ancillary buildings along with the town of Battelle began in 1903 and operations began in 1904. In 1906 the furnace was closed due to insufficient quality iron ore reserves. The iron plant was dismantled in 1917 and shipped to the Tata Iron Works in Calcutta, India where it became the only iron furnace to be operated on two continents. Today Battelle is a ghost town with only one of the original buildings still standing along with the remains of the coke ovens, limestone building blocks, a pile of iron slag, and the highwalls of old limestone quarries where the building blocks and limestone for use in the iron production was mined.

An exploration program was initiated in 2011 to define the limestone reserves underlying the Battelle property. The surface geology was mapped, drilling sites identified and access roads constructed to allow a core drill to access the proposed drilling sites. Three core holes with a total depth of 2,075.4 feet were drilled and the core logged, photographed, split and tested. Physical testing consisted of determination of specific gravity and absorption, Los Angeles abrasion loss, and sulfate soundness loss. Whole rock chemical analyses were performed and the calcium carbonate content of each interval analyzed was determined. A geologic map and cross section based on the drilling results were constructed and used to determine the limestone reserves underlying 638 acres of the property.

Results of the core drilling and physical testing show 665,000,000 tons of in place reserves of limestone aggregates meeting the specifications of the Alabama Department of Transportation and surrounding state departments of transportation, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and other specifying agencies underlay the property. Chemical analyses show a significant reserve of high-calcium limestone is also present.

Two options are being considered for the property, one is to place the property into a conservation easement to preserve the historic nature of the property and the other is to open a mine to extract the limestone.