Carmelita Mine Project
The Carmelita Mine project was born as a result of regional need. In 2006 (and again in 2012), the California Geologic Survey updated its “Aggregate Availability in California” report on aggregate reserves and projected aggregate demand in California. The report’s accompanying Map Sheet 52 is a statewide summary of 50-year demands and permitted resource calculations for construction aggregate. Out of 31 aggregate study areas in the state, Fresno was one of four with less than 10 years of permitted reserves remaining.
Located in the Kings River Mineral Resource Zone, the Carmelita site encompasses approximately 1,500 acres where farming had been challenging because of poor soil quality and cobbled and porous surface conditions. Surface mining would affect approximately 60 percent of the site (886 acres), and approximately 40 percent of the site would continue to be used for agricultural operations, primarily production of tree crops. At a rate of 1.25 million tons per year, the site could support 100 years of aggregate production. The mine and reclamation concept provided for use of available overburden, salvaged soils, and process fines to re‐create agricultural soils in mining-reclamation cells that would be sequentially excavated and backfilled with overburden, fines, and topsoil from previous cells or reclaimed as water basins used for irrigation of the approximately 854 acres of both reclaimed (240 acres) and unmined farming surfaces (614 acres) on‐site.