Peter Andrews, owner of Andrews Plant Hire and Haulage, and Chris, one of three sons working alongside him in the firm
Terex Trucks are helping to uncover some of the world’s richest clay deposits in Wareham, couple of miles inland from Purbeck’s Jurassic Coast.
The 450 000m³ of ball clay to be found 35m below ground is among the most sought-after in the world. The clay’s hard-firing properties make it suitable for a wide range of processing applications.
A large percent of the clay from this pit will be exported to Spain to be made into luxury ceramic tiles. The rest will be processed for use in the pharmaceutical industry or transported to India to make pylon cables insulators.
The Doreys site is one of several in the area owned by Imerys, a world leader in mineral-based products. The quarry is operated by local family-firm Andrews Plant Hire and Haulage.
From initially owning three trucks, Andrews now runs a fleet of nine Terex Trucks machines – one TA30 and eight TA 300s – all hard at work at six different clay quarries in Dorset and South Devon.
The trucks carry out two main tasks: transporting overburden materials and completing land restoration projects. In the case of the Doreys pit, five Terex Trucks machines are working non-stop to remove huge volumes of sandstone and ‘bad clay’ excavated by the diggers and then hauling it to a different part of the site. It will then be mostly used as back-fill to restore an adjacent quarry, from which the clay has already been removed, with 60 000 tons of sand sold from the site.
“This part of Doreys was a greenfield site until a year ago,” explains Peter. “We put up screening bunds to shield the pit from the main road and built a road across the site over what was previously bog land. It’s taken us six months to take a big imprint off the site and get to the point where the clay can be removed.”
The Terex Truck machine at the Doreys pit each make 50 to 60 deliveries a day of overburden to the restoration point, being loaded in under a minute and a half with up to 30 tonnes. That adds up to between half and three quarters of a million cubic meters of overburden and restoration materials a year out of a total of 1,5-million m³ for all Andrews’ clients.
The restoration part of the process complies with strict local authority environmental regulations, which ensure that the quarries, once depleted, are restored as far possible to wetland, heath or farmland. A few years from now, Doreys will no longer be the thrumming centre of activity it is today, but restored to its former rural calm, the 35m gash in the earth once again serene grassy farmland.