NORTHERN IRELAND IS HOME TO MANY QUARRIES AND MANUFACTURERS OF EQUIPMENT FOR THE GLOBAL AGGREGATES INDUSTRY.
By Mark S. Kuhar
Quarrying is a major industry in Northern Ireland. According to the Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland (QPANI), there are approximately 160 quarries and sand pits located there.
- The construction industry, which contributes around 10 percent of the province’s gross domestic product, is completely reliant on quarrying.
- Annual demand for aggregates in Northern Ireland is approximately 24 million tons and the jobs that quarrying supports are often in rural areas where other employment opportunities can be scarce.
- The quarry products industry employs around 5,600 people in Northern Ireland.
“QPANI currently represents approximately 95 percent of companies involved in the supply of quarry products locally,” said John Shannon of Patrick Bradley Ltd, QPANI chairman.
Northern Ireland is an important source of high-quality aggregate for use in road surfaces across the UK and Europe. This aggregate, because of its hardness, provides increased skid resistance on roads thereby increasing safety.
County Tyrone (from the Irish “Tír Eoghain,” meaning “land of Eoghan,”) is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the southwest shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,155 km², with a population of approximately 166,516, with its county town being Omagh. It is also one of the 32 traditional counties of Ireland, lying within the historical province of Ulster.
According to Library Ireland, the county exhibits some very striking geological features. The red sandstone formation embraces a considerable portion of its southern and eastern parts, while the greatest part of the north and west belongs to the clay-slate formation. In both districts there are considerable exceptions.
The clay-slate is intersected by a vein of micaceous limestone, which first appears in the bed of the river Poe; then passing near Newtown-Stewart and crossing the Munterlowney mountains, it terminates near the village of Dunamanagh, in the northern extremity of the county.
Detached portions of limestone, similar to that of the great central field of Ireland, are to be met with in many parts: white limestone, containing numerous nodules of flint, similar to that of Antrim, is found near Coagh.
County Tyrone is the second largest producer of limestone after County Fermanagh, accounting for about 20 percent of total production in Northern Ireland. Limestones occur in a range of geological ages and environments in County Tyrone, although the most economically important are of the Carboniferous age, according to a Mineral Resource Map of County Tyrone produced in 2012 by the British Geological Survey.
The primary aggregates products extracted in County Tyrone include sand and gravel, basalt, sandstone (including greywacke) and limestone. Most quarries are operated by family-owned businesses, but a number are larger and part of multi-national companies, according to the Geological Society of Northern Ireland.
Important Manufacturing Base
A number of companies are involved in the quarry business in County Tyrone. Since its incorporation in 1992, Dungannon-based Barrack Hill Quarries has played an increasingly important role in the supply of high-quality aggregates and stone to the Irish construction industry; Ardstraw Quarries operates a rock quarry near Victoria Bridge, serving the construction, agricultural and concrete industries, as well as various government agencies; and Devines Sand and Gravel Ltd., situated outside the village of Glenmornan has been providing quality washed sand and gravel for more than 50 years, just to name a few.
It is no surprise that in this strategically important area a number of manufacturing companies have arisen to meet the demand for crushing and screening equipment. There are approximately 90 manufacturing and engineering companies across the county. Although Tyrone has a high percentage of quarries, much of the equipment produced is for export.
Here are several companies featured in this special section.
Powerscreen is an expert in the design and manufacture of mobile crushing and screening equipment. Galvanizing global resources, decades of experience and in-depth industry knowledge, the company aims to bring to the market a comprehensive product portfolio for the aggregate, mining, recycling and contracting industries.
Powerscreen products operate in the toughest environments and feature nominal set-up times, market-leading productivity rates and excellent reliability. Its worldwide network of over 120 local dealers deliver customer support, from ensuring you get the right parts the first time, to providing experienced field engineers should you need them. The company’s robust and reliable machinery aims to increase productivity and efficiency. Powerscreen supports the dealer in delivering the complete customer experience from local sales, advice, installation, genuine parts, service and finance.
Terex Finlay has been manufacturing a comprehensive range of tracked mobile crushing, screening and recycling equipment for more than 50 years. Terex Finlay are global pioneers in tracked mobile solutions and offer a comprehensive range of equipment to the quarrying, mining, construction, demolition and recycling industries. The company’s range of innovative machines are manufactured to provide efficient production, low operational costs and ease of maintenance.
Terex Washing Systems is a new product line within Terex that is focused solely on providing solutions to the minerals washing industry. Leveraging the heritage, design innovations and manufacturing efficiencies previously offered by Powerscreen and Terex Finlay wash plants and systems, Terex Washing Systems is now a single-source provider of washing equipment within Terex – dedicated in providing reliable, high quality and very productive equipment to meet your minerals washing needs.
Celebrating 35 years in business, Smiley Monroe is a global market leader in the production of Hot Spliced Conveyor Belts and CNC Cut Rubber Parts for the mobile crushing,
screening and recycling sector and has just been named among “1,000 of the most exciting SME businesses in the UK” by London Stock Exchange Group.
Emerald Equipment Systems is a manufacturer and distributer of material processing equipment and parts located in the United States, however the company ownership originates from Dunganon, in County Tyrone, and the company sells Powerscreen and Terex Washing Systems products among others.
Over the last 20 years, Emerald has become the largest supplier of crushing and screening equipment and parts in the Northeast. Its main office is situated on a 75-acre site with more than 110,000 sq. ft. dedicated to parts, service and custom manufacturing along with a 10-acre site dedicated to demonstrating and testing. Emerald supplies equipment and parts for the mining, recycling, material handling, organics and environmental industries with equipment from several premium brands of washing, screening, crushing, conveying and recycling manufacturers.