Lochaline Quartz Sand Mine Visit

How do you like to spend your Friday evenings?

At Lochaber Geopark going to see Europe’s only underground sand mine.

The silica-rich sand formed in tropical seas and was subsequently capped, and therefore preserved, by basalts from the island of Mull 30 million years later. This working underground mine has a lot of history, with it being worked pre and post World War. Mechanical processes, which use principles such as centrifugal force, are used to separate the end product from other fine particles.

The mine is largest employer in Lochaline and currently the sand they produce, and is shipped directly off-site, is used to make windows and glass bottles.

Thank you to Lochaline Quartz Sand for a fantastic tour. They now have their 2019 calendars on sale. Get in touch with them if you would like a copy!

Veronique, geologist of the mine, going over the history of the workings.

Historic mine entrance.

The underground mine map. Green circles are the areas they are currently working on.

LQS85 Silica Sand

Centrifugal force in action.

Working mine entrance.

Jim Blair, director of the Geopark, pointing out an intrusion of basalt.