Glensanda visit on 24th September 2005

From the top of the Glensanda Quarry in Morven, Lismore looked like a long piece of dough some celestial cook had thrown down carelessly. In fact everything lying in the Firth of Lorne was reduced by the massiveness of a quarry that those of us visiting for the first time had not expected. Neither had we expected such a clean cut operation with a stark grandeur such engineering projects often have. Guided by Kurt Larsen, the Production Director, we drove to the drilling and blasting area 520 metres above sea level where a bitter wind blew. From there we saw the process from top down starting with the primary crusher feeding a 300m deep 3.3m diameter vertical shaft known as the Glory Hole which starts the process of transporting the product to sea level by gravity. The Glory Hole feeds a 1.8km horizontal tunnel conveyor that carries the crushed rock to a 500,000 tonne stockpile. The material is then transferred to the processing operations and from there to massive storage bins.

The Glory Hole hides what is going on beneath making the quarry a crater, with only the uppermost benches visible from a distance. Kurt was quick to show us the greening of the site where all blasting and extraction was done. The stone goes through secondary and tertiary crushing and is screened into sizes for marketplace. With a deep water harbour 75,000 tonne cargo can be loaded into one of the 4 huge Yeoman bulk carriers in under 24 hours. The huge boulders lying about having defied the machines were waiting to be used for sea defences, and, Kurt said, the stone is that pretty pink because of oxidisation. We learnt a lot about our near neighbour who employs many Lismore residents.

Thanks to Kurt Larsen for his tour and very detailed commentary.

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