An entrepreneur from Traverse Bay, Mich., and Michigan Technological University researchers are collaborating on a project to use Upper Michigan’s stamp sand for roofing shingles
An entrepreneur from Traverse Bay, Mich., and Michigan Technological University researchers are collaborating on a project to use Upper Michiganís stamp sand for roofing shingles. Plans are to build a mill to process the stamp sand and supply it to the roofing industry.
A Michigan Tech materials scientist, Ralph Hodek, and geological mining graduate Domenic Popko also have plans for a longer-term prospect: building a mill to manufacture the shingles themselves, employing up to 300 people.
A roofing shingle is 30% asphalt and 70% rock. The mixture must also contain copper, which retards the growth of algae, moss and lichen.
The stamp sand, a copper-mining byproduct, already has been mined and crushed, and it contains copper naturally. The initial operation would use a stretch of stamp sand between Gay and Traverse that is owned by the Keweenaw County Road Commission.
There are about 500 million tons of stamp sand in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. The biggest deposit, up to 30 feet deep, is along the shoreline between Gay and Traverse Bay, with even more material on the lake bottom. The sand is primarily basalt with 0.03% copper. That trace amount is all thatís needed to give the material its antimicrobial characteristic.
The Gay sands have been extensively sampled and studied by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Both studies concluded that the sand is safe for full-body exposure.