We meet Viv Russell, the former managing director of aggregates firm Longcliffe and chairman of the Institute of Quarrying, an organisation with more than 6,000 members around the globe, along with its chief executive James Thorne.
Thanks to a new partnership, the institute is looking to relocate from its current base in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire, to the National Stone Centre, at Wirksworth, for which it has ambitious plans.
The agreement between the two organisations will see them work collaboratively to inspire people to engage with the origin, industry and history of stone – and to excite them about its future.
James told Innovate: “Our vision is to create a world class visitor experience and an internationally significant centre of excellence for the quarrying and mineral products industry.
“It will allow us to bring the organisation to the most important region for minerals production in the UK and have it aligned to a site that represents the history of the industry, that’s within reach of some of the most significant operations in the country and will help us fulfil our objective of bringing people in to understand the industry and highlight its opportunities.”
Viv tells Innovate he is equally certain that the organisation has found a fitting home.
He said: “The stone centre will be the public face of the institute internationally and I’m very passionate about it being in what I consider to be the home of quarrying, which is Derbyshire.”
Viv and James explain that Derbyshire stone is not only utilised in building and construction and the manufacture of concrete, but the county also makes an important national contribution to the supply of minerals for industrial processing and manufacturing of animal feedstuffs, glass, paints, plastics, sealants, adhesives and pharmaceuticals.
The sector employs around 5,000 people directly in the county, supports the jobs of thousands more in supply chains and ancillary businesses and contributes more than £2 billion annually to Derbyshire’s GVA.
The importance of Derbyshire to the global quarrying industry is borne out by the fact that each year the county hosts the UK’s largest quarrying exhibition.
Known as Hillhead, as it takes place at Hillhead Quarry, near Buxton, it welcomes 20,000 visitors from across the world, who come to experience the show’s unique atmosphere, meet suppliers and see the latest equipment, products and services on offer.
This year’s Hillhead starts today and will run until Thursday.
Viv said: “From the house that you woke up in this morning, to when you brushed your teeth, to the water you put on your toothbrush, we’re important in all of them.
“People only visualise our industry as the lorry that’s sat in front of them on the A52 – that’s all they see.
“They don’t recognise the employment, investment and enrichment that comes from around the industry.”
To read the full article in the latest Innovate magazine click here.