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Quarryville’s Rock Quarry

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Quarryville’s Rock Quarry

May 31, 2023 nflg 0 Comments

Topsoils and subsoils are removed so we can see the rock surface. These soils are stored nearby for later use in landscaping and restoration.

Holes are drilled in the rock by a huge drilling rig in preparation for blasting.

A trained worker called a shot-firer fills each hole with explosives to break the rock and drop it into a tidy pile. Blasting takes place three times a week at Quarryville, releasing about 15,000 tonnes each time. Rocks that are less than 100mm in diameter are transported straight to the Primary (first) Crusher. Oversize material must first be broken into a workable size with a hydraulic hammer.

Moving rocks to plant
Powerful excavators load the blasted rock onto 65 tonne dumper trucks. The dumpers then move the rock to the Primary Crusher.

Rock fed into the Primary (first) Crusher is reduced to smaller sizes by powerful hammers or metal jaws. An operator supervises the whole job from an air-conditioned room. The crushing process is kept ‘indoors’ to control both dust and noise. Some of the crushed rock is fed into a heated rotary dryer (like the drum of a big washing machine), where the water is driven off as steam to prepare the rock for the next stage.

The crushed material is transported by conveyor to a Screening Tower. The rock passes over a number of screens like sieves. Each screen has a larger opening than the previous one – this allows larger and larger sizes to be separated. Rocks too large to pass through the largest openings are transported to a Secondary Crusher and then over the screens again until they find their place.

The different sizes of rock are transported by conveyors onto stockpiles. Here they’re stored until they are loaded onto trucks to be delivered to customers. Quarryville’s Rock Quarry has both Storage Silos and covered Stone Bays. The stone is stored in a range of sizes: 40mm, 28mm, 20mm, 14mm, 10mm, 6mm and dust.

Quarryville has an Asphalt Coating Plant that coats the dried rock with bitumen and adds filler to create asphalt for use in surfaces like from motorways, runways and driveways. Other quarries have ready-mixed concrete plants where the rock is mixed with cement to make ready-mixed concrete, and some have factories to make concrete blocks.

Loading lorries and weighing
Modern lorries use pre-programmed ‘smart cards’ to load automatically. Before the lorry leaves the quarry, it drives onto the weigh bridge to be weighed. Dry stone is generally delivered over a 30-mile radius. Coated material can travel up to 100 miles. Some large quarries also have rail connections for long distance deliveries.

Restoring the land
Landscaping and restoration – while the quarry continues to be worked deeper, restoration of the upper faces begins, often by planting on the ‘benches’ that have been completed. Soils are also used to create a screening hill that stops distant views straight into the quarry. The Quarryville site is home to lots of important wildlife and plants.

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