Picture by Anthony Peacock
Worldwide, extraction of silica sand is almost exclusively done by surface quarrying. The mine in Lochaline is the only underground sand mine in Europe. The huge deposit of pure white sandstone is extracted by using a room and pillar method. The sandstone is drilled, blasted, loaded into dump trucks and taken to the surface plant, where it is crushed, washed, screened, scrubbed and spiralized to remove impurities. Most of the sand is transported by ship from the adjacent dedicated pier. A drainage and pump system and fully covered sheds, reduce the moisture of the sand.
All mining operations are carried out following HSE guidelines.