£1m expansion to creates nine jobs at Lochaber sand mine
NINE jobs have been created in Lochaber thanks to a £1 million expansion of a sand mine.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has invested £100,000 in the development by Lochaline Quartz Sand Ltd on the Morvern peninsula.
HIE’s approval will bring economic and social benefits to this rural part of Lochaber and take the total number employed at the mine to 20.
The investment towards the purchase of plant equipment, machines and the installation of buildings will assist the growth of the business.
The site was brought back into commercial operation five years ago in a joint effort 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.
Sand being mined at the site is used in the production of glass products, from crystal and ceramics to sanitary ware and photo-voltaic panels.
Product diversification is said to be a major part of the expansion. New processes and markets are set to be developed for the firm’s lower grade sand, which has to date been a waste product of the mining operation.
Daniele Trogolo Got, operations director at the mine, 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 added: ‘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 such as the local school and has a long-lasting, positive impact on the economic sustainability and resilience of the community of Morvern.’