£1m ex­pan­sion to cre­ates nine jobs at Lochaber sand mine

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

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