Clinker manufacture operational: 1966 to date
Approximate clinker production to 2015: 17.3 million tonnes (25th).
Quarries in this area were used from the nineteenth century to supply limestone and lime to the chemical industries of the Mersey Valley. The limestone is of unusually high quality, with dolomite less than 3% and chert less than 1%, and with selective crushing and washing, clay and iron contents can be reduced to low levels, making it suitable for chemical-grade lime. Henry Reid set up a cement plant not far away at Dove Holes (407400,378370) around 1874 - it had shut down by 1890. Intriguingly, Ketton obtained planning permission for a one-kiln plant at this site in 1951, but did not proceed. The main activity of the Tunstead site is the lime plant, which is the largest in Britain. A large number of firms operated in the area in the nineteenth century, and thirteen combined in 1891 to form Buxton Lime Firms Ltd, the main occupation of which was to supply chemical-grade lime to Brunner-Mond’s Solvay soda plant in Northwich. Brunner, Mond & Co. Ltd finally took it over in 1919, and was subsequently merged into ICI in 1926. The Tunstead quarries were opened in 1929. By the 1960s, the quantity of wash-plant waste became a problem. The washings contained, in addition to fine limestone, about 50,000 t/year of mainly interstitial clay. Faced with planning restrictions on land-filling, the cement plant was built to consume the clay.
A wet kiln was initially installed to the north of the main lime plant and this operated consistently for 38 years. The product for much of the period was marketed by Blue Circle. Under the aegis of Buxton Lime Industries, a larger and more efficient plant was planned, and in 2004 a new plant was constructed in the worked out quarry to the south of the lime plant. This consisted of a precalciner kiln and a rawmill designed to handle injected thickened washings slurry.
The limestone quarries are the largest in the UK, producing 5.5 million tonnes per year, and the current cement capacity is such that it still absorbs only a quarter of the quarries’ output, and provides an outlet for lower quality or under-sized stone. The wet kiln site was cleared and landscaped within two years of shutdown.
Please contact me with any relevant information or corrections. I am particularly interested in firmer dates and statistics.
Note: technical information on currently operational plants is ✄withheld in the public version of the site at present.
Two rotary kilns were installed:
Supplier: Vickers Armstrong
Kiln A2 (=B1)
Supplier: FLS Rotax-2®(1).
Sources: Jackson, pp 264, 301
© Dylan Moore 2011: commenced 07/08/2011: last edit 31/12/2016.
Approximate capacity: tonnes per year: ✄