Mineral Resource Efficiency

Mineral Resource Efficiency – Optimising Raw Material Use

At Longcliffe, we quarry high purity limestone from the Carboniferous Age Bee Low formation which is 330 million years old. Limestones are being formed under the sea in many parts of the world but it is difficult to argue that mineral reserves being quarried are in any way being replaced.

In practice, the argument for quarrying minerals is that there is no practical alternative to their use in most applications. For instance, the largest end use for Longcliffe products is in animal feeds where the calcium content promotes good bone growth. Similarly, another major end use is in the manufacture of soda, lime, silica glass and a range of other applications.

Limestone is so abundant in the UK that it will practically never run out but the high-purity limestones quarried by Longcliffe are less widespread and as such, our duty is to reserve the high-quality sections of our sites for use only in beneficial applications.

In order to achieve this Longcliffe has constructed a 3D map of all our mineral reserves.

The process of creating such a map starts by drilling numerous holes to a depth of around 100m and analysing the cores or dust brought to the surface. These samples are examined on site for key chemical values, principally calcium, magnesium, iron, lead and cadmium. The samples are then grouped according to their value so we can be sure we are using the correct reserve for the most suitable application.

The net effect of this complex analysis of our mineral reserves is that Longcliffe are able to work the appropriate quality of stone for the appropriate end use. High-quality mineral is never used for lower quality applications, effectively conserving the purest stone for the most demanding applications.

Longcliffe’s workings are subject to a comprehensive set of planning conditions in the mineral planning permission granted by Derbyshire County Council. One of these conditions states that over 60% of the sales made must be to industrial applications.

Longcliffe’s innovative mineral resource optimisation methods, developed in association with geological consultants Quarry Design Ltd using GEOREKA software, are unique to limestone quarrying in the UK.