But what Lochaline has is a silica mine – opened in 1940 to meet the wartime need of silica to make optical quality glass, the sandstone in the mine is very pure. The mine closed in 2008, but is reopening in the spring.
What’s odd is that the mine is full of cars! Old wrecked ones, used to get about in the mine, and shoved into side passages when they finally died.
The mine is huge – 48km of tunnels, covering 370 acres, and capable of producing 100,000 tonnes per year – destined mostly for Pilkington’s solar panel production, apparently.
I thought these were explosives at first! They’re not – they’re resin for roof bracing.
On the surface, the processing equipment is all ready to go, and the silica sand goes out by sea.