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Careers in Quarrying - School Leaver 16+

About the Industry

School Leaver.

Many people have an image of quarries as simply holes in the ground. But the real story is that, by providing the materials we need for our homes, hospitals and schools, quarries are essential to all of our lives. Think what sort of world this would be without all of the buildings, bridges and roads around you!

Many products we take for granted – from paper to glass, cosmetics to toothpaste – are made using materials that come from the nation’s quarries.

There are over 2000 quarries and associated manufacturing sites in the UK. The industry supplies products and services worth £9 billion worth a year. The construction industry, which contributes nearly ten per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product, is totally reliant on mineral products.

So how do we do it? Before quarrying can begin, quarry plans are assessed very carefully to consider their impact on the environment. A restoration plan is also agreed for the quarry when work has finished to ensure that the land that was borrowed is returned for a beneficial use. There are two main types of land quarries - rock, and sand and gravel. Rock quarries tend to be longer-term, deeper and dug on several different levels or “benches”. Rock is blasted from the ground using carefully controlled explosions, and is then taken to a crusher, where it is broken down into smaller pieces and separated into different sizes.

Sand and gravel quarries are usually much shorter-term, shallower and are restored at the same time as the land is being worked. Once the soil has been removed, the sand or gravel is dug from the ground and taken to a processing plant where unwanted clay or silt is removed and the sand and gravel is separated into different sizes. Crushed rock or sand and gravel can be mixed with cement to make ready-mixed concrete, and with a sticky substance called bitumen to make asphalt for the surfaces of our roads. We can also draw up sand and gravel from the sea bed using dredging ships which work out to sea, bringing their material back to wharves on the coast or river front.

Behind all the work that goes on in the industry are thousands of skilled people that all play a vital role in providing the materials we all need every day of our lives.

You can find out more about how we quarry by visiting the website for an interactive tour.

If you are interested in finding out about careers in the industry after you finish your study, have a look at our case studies or our list of roles.


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