Home to an abundance of geological features, a rich history, and the internationally renowned Hillhead exhibition, Derbyshire boasts a thriving quarrying community that attracts visitors from all over the world. Indeed, the Buxton-based show drew a record breaking 18,655 visitors from 71 countries to last year’s exhibition, underlining its status as the world’s premier event for the mineral products, construction equipment and recycling industries.
Derbyshire has for many years been one of the country’s largest mineral producers, its resources including limestone, sandstone, sand and gravel, coal, clay and shale and vein minerals. The most significant mineral extracted in Derbyshire is limestone, with workings providing 20% of England’s production. This is mainly concentrated in the Carboniferous Limestone around Buxton and Wirksworth, with other sites in the Permian (Magnesian) Limestone in the north east of the county.
In addition, Derbyshire produces a whole host of other mineral products. Sand and gravel resources in Derbyshire are concentrated in the river valley deposits in the Trent valley, and the adjoining Lower Derwent and Dove valleys. Opencast coal in the exposed coalfield particularly in the east of the county has been historically significant but is not exploited on a significant scale today. Sandstone gritstone and some limestone are worked on a small scale as a source of building stone and for construction materials. Clay and shale have been worked at a number of locations to produce bricks, pottery, stoneware and refractory materials. Vein minerals such as fluorspar and related minerals are worked on a limited basis on the fringes of the National Park.
The county also contains deposits of ganister, gypsum and silica sand, although active working of these has virtually ceased.
Our region is home to a number of key sites run by a mix of large and small scale operators. Tunstead Quarry in Buxton is the largest supplier of lime and lime-based products in the UK, extracting between 5 and 6 million tonnes of limestone per annum over recent years. The Tunstead site comprises two separate extraction areas - Tunstead Quarry and Old Moor Quarry, which covers an area of over 340 hectares.
Our region is arguably most famous for Hillhead Quarry, home to the world renowned exhibition which draws visitors from all over the world every two years to view what the key players in the quarrying and related industries have to offer.
As well as these important sites, this region is also home to the University of Derby’s dedicated Centre for Mineral Products. The team at the Centre for Mineral Products deliver industry standard and globally recognised qualifications for people working in the mineral products sector. The courses have been developed in partnership with IQ and provide learners with a solid understanding from which they can develop into the future leaders of the industry.
What does the IQ Derbyshire branch do for local members?
Our next event is a presentation from Cath Pickett of the HSE on 22nd March. We arrange a series of presentations/technical meetings that run through autumn, winter and spring each year, usually one each month. We have an annual dinner dance held in November, a sporting event of some sort, and a partner’s event. As you know this year is different as it is IQ’s centenary year and we will get involved in celebrating that (but at what level exactly, I'm not sure).
Our branch, as with the other branches, are run by volunteers. It would be absolutely fantastic to get even more engagement and support for our area – if you are passionate about what you do and want to help others in the industry, get in touch with us!
How can I get involved?
For any members in Derbyshire looking to get involved with their local branch, contact:
- Adam Garbutt - [email protected]