a look into the quarry industry

Industry Highlight: A Look into the Quarry Industry

What is Quarrying?

Quarrying is an industry that’s been around for centuries on earth—Essentially since the very beginning. During the Stone Age, one of man’s very first innovations was learning to chip away limestone for making tools like hammers, hand axes, and cutting instruments. Quarrying is essentially the process of extracting natural resources from the earth—Which in modern-day, are used often in the construction industry.

So, what’s a quarry? A quarry, sometimes known as a surface mine, open pit or opencast mine, is the section of earth that the minerals are being extracted from. Quarries produce a range of useful materials like limestone, dimension stone, rock, sand or gravel. These raw materials are used in the foundations of our homes, schools, hospitals, roads and so much more! Nearly two-thirds of all the stone produced in Canadian quarries is crushed and used for concrete and asphalt aggregates.

The image below, created by The Institute of Quarrying, illustrates what a typical quarrying process may look like:

quarrying process

As you can see, quarrying involves many different steps, each involving a different team of professionals and different tools/ machinery. And, of course, this process will look different depending on the material being produced. However, putting the most common practice simply – They begin by digging a pit to access the deposit, and create a vertical face of exposed rock. Then, large chunks are dislodged from the walls, usually through controlled blasting using explosives. This rock is then crushed, impurities are removed and the resulting materials are graded by size before being stockpiled. The materials are then transported by road, rail or sea for use!

What do Quarries Produce?

Like we mentioned, quarries produce a wide variety of natural materials that make up a lot of the build-up world around us. The principal types of stone quarried in Canada are limestone, granite, sandstone, and marble. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia limestone accounts for 79% of the total material quarried in Canada, the largest single material export by far.

Quarries are also known to produce:

  • Gypsum
  • Salt
  • Potash
  • Coal
  • Chemical Grade Limestone
  • Common Clay’s
  • China Clay or Kaolin
  • Ball Cays
  • Silica Sand

These materials then feed into many other industries like ready-mixed-concrete plants, coating plants to produce asphalt and bituminous road-making materials, cement and lime burning kilns, concrete block and pipe works, brick works, pottery works, and plaster/plasterboard factories. Quarrying for many industries is the unspoken first step in their processes, providing them with many vital materials.

Quarrying Safely

Significant safety hazards are present in quarries, as you would imagine when working with heavy pieces of rock, explosives, large machinery and the number of moving parts many quarrying cites have (as you can see in the quarrying process photo above). The Mine Safety and Health Administration reports that incidents involving the handling of materials is the highest cause for injuries in quarries/mines.

When it comes to handling heavy materials, it’s important you’re using equipment you can trust to lift the load safely and effectively—That’s where we come in. Hercules SLR is your one-stop-shop for all things securing, yoke hardware hooks eye bolts and shackles lifting and rigging. Our focus is to provide securing, lifting and rigging solutions that allow our customers to get the job done safely and efficiently.

For example, Hercules SLR is a Master Distributor of YOKE rigging hardware—A perfect choice for handling materials in quarrying. Since 1985, YOKE manufactures durable, reliable & high-quality rigging hardware that keeps your load secure, and your team safe. They run a strict production facility, with a huge emphasis on quality control & safety at every stage of the manufacturing process—From raw materials to the finished product for the end-user, with facilities across the globe, in Canada, Los Angeles and China. YOKE is an ISO 9001 certified company with Type-Approval by major international authorities like SABS, ZU, ABS, API, and DNV. YOKE has achieved various certifications that ensure their unsurpassed product engineering.

If you’re looking to bring your material handling safety to the next level, consider taking one of our many Hercules Training Academy courses like the fundamentals of rigging.


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