Longcliffe on track to meet zero-carbon targets with CDE support

Independent, family-owned business Longcliffe Quarries is fast approaching its milestone centenary celebrations. By 2027, it hopes to achieve zero-carbon quarrying operations - it has committed to a series of ambitious sustainability targets and has partnered with CDE to help realise its environmental objectives and strengthen its position as a champion of sustainability in the UK’s quarrying sector.

Founded in 1927, Longcliffe Quarries is the largest independent supplier of calcium carbonates in the UK, producing over one million tonnes of high-quality calcium carbonate powders and granules every year.

Calcium carbonate forms the basis of many everyday products. Managing Director Viv Russell says the company produces over 100 products for a vast range of “critical industries”. Calcium carbonate products are vital components in animal and pet foods. Its powders and granules are also supplied into the glass, plastics, and pharmaceutical industries and many more. Sealants – or cure activators – produced by Longcliffe Quarries are used in fluoroelastomer docking seals on the International Space Station.

Stewards of the environment

In pursuit of its environmental commitments, the business sought to address the high volumes of waste generated at Brassington Moor quarry.

The business had historically discarded its quarry by-product, material described as having a higher clay content. But feasibility studies and material testing to demonstrate market demand for products recovered from this stream highlighted the potential to realise its commercial objectives without sacrificing its sustainability credentials.

David Kinloch, CDE’s regional manager in the UK and Ireland, says the partnership with Longcliffe Quarries began several years ago.

“Following intensive testing in our lab we demonstrated through on-site plant trails how CDE could process Longcliffe’s by-product into a very clean and high-value revenue stream. After a procurement process CDE proved its technical capability and  workshops were launched in partnership with Longcliffe to co-design what would eventually becomes its first-ever wet processing plant.”

CDE operates a unique co-design approach which involves working closely with its customers to design customised wet processing solutions tailored to meet their specified commercial and environmental objectives.

He added this design process included integrating the plant into the existing set-up at Brassington Moor quarry.

“One of the more unique aspects of this particular plant was how it integrated with Longcliffe’s existing primary crushing set-up. We introduced overland belt conveyors to charter product to the CDE wet processing plant.”

CDE solution

The resulting 220 tonnes per hour state-of-the-art wet processing plant represents the single largest investment Longcliffe Quarries has ever made.

Engineered to maximise product yield from heavy clay-bound feedstock, the plant features CDE’s signature AggMaxTM modular logwasher setup for scrubbing and sizing, incorporating CDE’s patented EvoWashTM classification and dewatering system which offers greater efficiency compared to more traditional washing methods.

Central to the system and to addressing the availability of clean water on site is CDE’s AquaCycleTM thickener which allows for up to 90% of the process water to be recycled and recirculated back into the system, offering near-total independence from fresh water supplies.

High value 

Previously discarded clay-bound material is now producing high-quality single-sized aggregates and sand grades - providing high value revenue streams for the company. ‘It’s a win-win scenario’, as Russell explains. “We’re now supplying into both the ready-mix and decorative markets as a direct result of the quality of material output from the plant. We’re processing high volumes of low-grade feed and turning that into saleable products.”

“We’re recovering up to six different products from heavily contaminated material. The CDE plant is producing an exceptionally clean product and one that we’re now able to turn into a higher value industrial material.”

This has led to a significant 12% reduction in the quarry's load and haul fuel usage and follows an almost 70% reduction in net emissions recorded at the quarry since 2014/15.

“As we move towards a more circular driven economy, it’s vital that the industry continues to adapt. Our investments in renewable energy and this wet processing plant demonstrate our commitment to sustainability.


James Thone, chief executive officer of the Institute of Quarrying, says technology is reshaping how the industry operates.

“Projects like this are the future. It makes sense to do these kinds of things and I think the industry will view this with a real interest, particularly when you look at the big picture of the issues we’re facing as a society.”

The integration of technology and IT in the plant, Russell says, has impressed the team at Longcliffe Quarries.

“Due to the IT related to the plant, if we’ve got an unforeseen problem then CDE often knows about it before we do. That gives us the confidence and reassurance that we are working the right team.”

It features CDE CORE, a suite of smart technology tools that offers plant operators greater control over their plant and access to real-time data on how their plant is operating to maximise plant uptime and throughput.

“We want the plant to be running and producing products and so too does CDE. This exemplifies the partnership and shared ethos of both companies.”

Associated Businesses

  • CDE is the global leader in materials wet processing technology, with almost 2,000 wet processing projects delivered in over 100 countries across the world. Through it’s purpose “Championing Sustainability To Create A New Wor...