Production and Plant
The mine in Lochaline works a layer of white sandstone, up to 12m thick. The mine extracts a 5m sequence which is composed essentially of pure silica (99.8% Si02) with only traces of other elements.
Lochaline Mine is unique as it is the only underground silica sand mine in the UK (as opposed to open quarrying). The mine is neatly tucked away on the shores of Loch Aline and has minimal impact on the beautiful landscape of the area.
Mining is carried out using a room and pillar system. The sandstone is drilled and 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. To reduce the moisture the sand is stocked under cover and there is a drainage and pump system in place.
All mining operations are carried out strictly following HSE guidelines.