From the Atlantic Patagonia in the Southern Hemisphere comes a beautiful variety of porphyry. In the windswept Patagonia region of Argentina, is the province of Chubut with its desert like landscapes. Distances are enormous and the population centers are scattered. Porphyry from inland quarries is brought to Puerto Madryn for processing and shipping. Puerto Madryn was founded by Welsh immigrants in 1865. Among other things, it is now the tourism gateway to penguins and whales.
Starting some 30 years ago, in the porphyry sector, which up to that time was principally an Italian product; materials have appeared from outside Europe. Partial depletion of the traditional quarries and problems related to the environment from the extraction of this material in the provinces of Trento and Bolzano in Italy has limited the quantity of material. The evolution of the market towards a higher level of processed material (sawed, polished, semi- polished, flamed) has led to the searching in different parts of the world, with new and growing interest in the quarriers of blocks. New techniques of fabrication have made these finishes possible in Italy and in other countries and the market for porphyry is in continuous expansion.
The porphyry from other countries, competing with the Italian, is represented basically by stone extracted in Mexico, Iran and the Patagonia region of Argentina. Most of these searches and the development of commercial production and exportation have been lead by the Italian companies from Trentino. Their knowledge of how to extract and process this stone was important in turning these discoveries into commercial endeavors.
As early as the beginning of the 20th Century, Porphyry pavers were known in the Patagonia region of Argentina. This was found in The Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London. Vol. 59, 1903 in a paper titled “Notes on the Geology of Patagonia”
“…in which is situated the estancia of Mr. Langley, an English settler who has taken advantage of the perfection of the divisional planes in the quartz-porphyry to quarry it for use in Buenos Aires as paving-stone.”
Currently Argentine porphyry is found in numerous quarries in the province of Chubut(Patagonia). In some areas the compactness of the material allows obtaining regular blocks. The presence of blocks as well as stratified slabs enables the fabricators to custom cut materials such as steps and curbs. These materials can be finished in a variety of ways including flamed finishes. The colors of this stone range from predominantly grey (Storm Grey) to a predominanly red/brown (Sierra).
Milestone Imports in North America works with a company with facilities in Puerto Madryn and Buenos Aires to exclusively import the Storm Grey and Sierra varieties of Patagonia Porphyry.This market leading firm has been operating for 90 years in the stone business in Argentina beginning with the distribution of marble. The evolution of ocean freight has enabled these products to efficiently be brought to ports such as Houston, Miami, Baltimore and Oakland.
Storm Gray custom oval 6 inch thick”curblettes” shown prior to shipping to a Milestone Imports project in North America
Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings. The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world. These materials are available from Milestone Imports. – www.milestoneimports.com