It will strengthen the company’s market position and develop further niche markets for its full range of sand as well as its highest grade sand.
The sand being mined underground at the west of Scotland site is typically used in glass products from crystal and ceramics to sanitary ware and photo voltaic panels.
A major part of the expansion is an innovative product diversification. This will enable new processes and markets to be developed for the firm’s lower grade sand which has to date been a waste product of the mining operation.
HIE’s £100,000 approval towards the purchase of plant equipment, machines and the installation of buildings will help Lochaline Quartz Sand to achieve its growth potential. The new jobs will create economic and social benefits for a fragile part of Lochaber and take the total number employed at the mine to 20.
Lochaline Quartz Sand was brought back into commercial operation four years ago in a joint collaboration between Italian mining group Minerali Industrali SRL and high quality glass manufacturer, NSG (Parent of the Pilkington Group) – the main buyer of the company’s sand.
Daniele Trogolo Got – operations director from Lochaline Quartz Sand Ltd said: “This latest capital investment underlines our commitment to the mine and local area. It should put us in a good position to supply high quality sand to new and emerging markets both in the UK and internationally.
“The re-opening and refurbishment of the original Lochaline sand mine coupled with this latest venture and a highly committed workforce means we can look forward to the future with confidence.”
Head of Business Growth at HIE, Alison Gainsford said: “The expansion of the mine and the additional turnover and jobs created are both important economic boosts to this fragile area. The additional wages generated as part of this development will have a significant impact on other community facilities including the local shop and hotel.
“It will also help retain the current local population and attract more people and families into the area which potentially creates demand for new housing. Overall, this preserves the viability of public services like the local school and has a long-lasting, positive impact on the economic sustainability and resilience of the community of Morvern.”