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Tue September 21 2021

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Waste granite from tungsten mine boosts construction supply chain

2 Sep Construction materials supplier GRS Roadstone has secured a deal to bring to market millions of tonnes of granite arising from British tungsten mining for use as sustainable construction aggregate.

Hemerdon tungsten mine near Plymouth
Hemerdon tungsten mine near Plymouth

GRS has joined forces with Tungsten West, operator of recently reopened Hemerdon tungsten-tin mine near Plympton, Devon, in a multi-million pound venture to sell high-quality secondary aggregate and transport it nationwide mostly by sea and rail.

Tungsten is the hardest metal with the highest melting point and has numerous uses in electronics, manufacturing and an array of everyday objects. Hemerdon mine is the world’s fourth largest tungsten reserve (and the second largest to comply with CRIRSCO international reporting standards) as well as being Europe’s only source of tungsten.

Mining tungsten also gives rise to thousands of tonnes of granite, ideal for secondary aggregates from bulk fill materials to single sizes for concrete and other construction applications. GRS, which turns over more than £300m a year, will use its rail and marine freight network to transport the aggregate to construction projects across the south of England and potentially further afield. The granite aggregates will be processed on site at Hemerdon.

GRS Group chief executive Jon Fisher said: “This is a true symbiotic collaboration between two like-minded businesses with shared ambitions. Not only are we helping the UK to remain self-sufficient in essential minerals, but we’re also distributing them in the most sustainable way possible. GRS already trades and transports almost 20 million tonnes of construction materials every year – around half of which is from recycled or secondary sources – and this deal reinforces our whole ethos to make the best use of the UK’s available resources.”

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Tungsten West chief executive Max Denning said: “Tungsten West is extremely excited to partner with GRS, especially as they’re the UK’s leading aggregates trading company with an exceptional reputation for success. By GRS applying their years of experience and success across all industry verticals within the construction materials sector, Tungsten West can offer a significant new mineral resource, at scale, to the UK market. GRS brings a wealth of experience, credibility and strategic thinking that complements our approach.”

Starting this month, GRS expects to ramp-up secondary aggregate volumes from Hemerdon to distribute more than a million tonnes each year for the next decade and beyond, the company said.

After a 10-mile lorry journey from Hemerdon, the aggregate will be loaded onto ships at Plymouth for transportation to other ports around Britain. The aggregate will also be hauled five miles to nearby Marsh Mills where it can be loaded onto trains for onward distribution via the rail network.

Through its Cornish subsidiary Maen Karne and London-based business Walsh, the GRS Group already transports secondary granite from the Cornish China Clay industry into London by sea and rail.

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