Ciments Calica manufactures cement at a factory in Villiers-au-Bouin. This factory, which produced 289,000 tonnes of cement in 2016, is supplied by two quarries:
- The Huellerie quarry, in the commune of Saint-Germain-d'Arcé in the Sarthe department (72), in the Pays-de-la-Loire region;
- The Pont de Launay quarry, which is next to the Huellerie quarry, in the commune of Villiers-au-Bouin in the Indre-et-Loire department (37) in the Centre Val de Loire region.
Only the Huellerie quarry, currently in the process of renewing its authorisation, has been put forward for the Quarry Life Award. This quarry, with a surface area of 180 ha, includes 110 ha dedicated to the extraction of materials and 500,000 tonnes of deposits which are quarried each year.
The ecological setting: the quarry is located in a wooded landscape (oak, alder and ash). The open areas are part of the woodland network. The brown chalky soils are cultivated into grasslands, pastures and for cereal crops. The Fare river runs adjacent to the site to the east and its riparian forest is an important ecological corridor.
The quarry is situated more than 5 km from the nature reserves and nearest Natura 2000 sites. Nevertheless, the quarry completely encompasses a type 1 Zone Naturelle d'Intérêt Ecologique Faunistique et Floristique (ZNIEFF – Natural zone of ecological interest, fauna and flora) "Coteau du Moulin de Coulonge" and covers the type 1 ZNIEFF "Prairies et bois humides au Sud de la Chandesaiserie".
The refurbishment of the quarry ensures that the natural environment has been fully restored, with the creation of several types of habitats for fauna and flora, as well as agricultural areas, with plots of arable land. The natural areas will host water areas, a network of wetlands, afforestation, calcareous grasslands and a network of hedgerows.
The quarry comprises an excavated area (bare soil and corridors), calcareous grasslands, temporary or permanent wetlands, brownfield sites, afforestation and crops. On this site, the calcareous grasslands present the most significant challenge.
The site of the Huellerie quarry is home to several protected animal species: the common parsley frog (Pelodytes punctatus), common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), the little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius) and the Eurasian stone curlew (Burdinus oedicnemus).
Two rare and protected species of insects, the great capricorn beetle (Cerambyx cerdo) and the large blue butterfly (Maculinea arion) roam freely across the periphery, within the authorised perimeter.
Bats can be found in woodlands to the north and east of the extraction zone: The western barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus), Bechstein's bat (Myotis bechsteinii), greater and lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum and Rhinolophus hipposideros), greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis). All these species are protected.
Finally, one plant species, the common ball flower (Globularia bisnagarica), is present in the brand-new habitats created during stripping and quarrying. It is protected at national level and under threat of extinction. This species has been designated as under threat and protected.
Ongoing nature projects:
The measures to be implemented at the quarry (currently in the process of being accepted by the administration) include:
- Restore the calcareous grasslands as part of the refurbishment; guarantee conservation management of calcareous grasslands
- Protect undeveloped wetlands
- Move the trees harbouring the great capricorn beetle
- Move the common ball flower plants
- Create ponds and associated shelters
- Plant hedges
- Implement compensatory afforestation and establish senescence islands
- Establish artificial bat shelters close to the quarry
- Manage the invasive exotic species
- Develop nature trails
- Raise awareness amongst staff
Finally, the quarry has adopted an SMbio biodiversity management system, which is recognised as part of the National Biodiversity Strategy. It includes identifying challenges.