Lochaline Quartz Sand Ltd. (LQS) owns and operates the silica sand mine in Lochaline, situated in the
West Highlands of Scotland.
LQS produces silica sand of exceptional quality and colour: very low in iron and very white. This
material is particularly suited for the production of high quality glass.
We make two grades of silica: LQS85 and LQS500. Both are available in all formats; moist and loose,
dried in bulk and bagged. We hold stocks of both materials in our warehouses in the North of England.
We can ship or truck product directly from Lochaline according to customer requirements. Bespoke
products are possible.
LQS85 has a very low iron content and exceptional whiteness, unique among UK sand sources. It is
particularly suited for production of top quality flint glass and is valued for a range of other uses where
consistent white colour and low iron content are demanded.
LQS500 is similar in appearance to LQS85, but it is not quite as white and its iron content is controlled
at a slightly higher level. This is a high purity silica sand suited for clear glass production and is also
suitable for any customers who require white silica sand but for whom the iron content is not critical.
Lochaline Quartz Sand Ltd. strongly believes that the only way to be economically viable is to operate
in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Worldwide, extraction of silica sand is almost
exclusively done by surface quarrying with all the impact that has on the local environment. Lochaline
is an underground mine neatly tucked away on the shores of Loch Aline and has minimal impact on
the beautiful landscape of the area. We take great pride in our production processes. We don’t use
chemicals to remove impurities. We only use water, screens and gravity to produce an exceptional
product. Our water is sourced from underground reservoirs and is recycled using a closed circuit
system. We review the sustainability of our company on a regular basis.
Although the mine in Lochaline has been operating since 1940, the available deposit underground is
extensive, and it will provide high quality raw materials for several decades to come. The huge deposit
of pure white sandstone is extracted by using a room and pillar method. The sandstone is drilled,
blasted, loaded into dump trucks and taken to the surface plant, where it is crushed, washed,
screened, scrubbed and spiralized to remove impurities. Most of the sand is transported by ship from
the adjacent dedicated pier. A drainage and pump system and fully covered, modern sheds, reduce
the moisture of the sand.
There is a fully equipped laboratory on site. During production periods samples are analysed daily to
determine the iron level and the particle size. The moisture content is measured before and during
loading to assure that the product is adequately drained before dispatch.
LQS is a joint venture between the Italian mining company Minerali Industriali and the global glass