NI stone exports paving Europe’s busiest roads

Conexpo has won a 55,000 tonne order to supply Co Down gritstone to help surface one of Europes busiest roads
Conexpo has won a 55,000 tonne order to supply Co Down gritstone to help surface one of Europes busiest roads

Stone quarried by Belfast Harbour based firm Conexpo is being used to surface Europe’s busiest roads.

The company has just won an export order to supply 55,000 tonnes to help reconstruct 26km of the road network near Limburg in southern Holland. The contract follows a 200,000 tonne order for the newly constructed A15 extension which serves the Port of Rotterdam and is Europe’s busiest motorway.

Conexpo sources one million tonnes of high quality gritstone annually from its Co Down quarries. The stone is processed and exported from its £5m quayside plant located on a seven -hectare site in Belfast Harbour Estate.

Opened in 2015 it’s the only facility in Europe which can simultaneously produce aggregates to UK and European standards. The stone is highly sought after for its ability to improve skid resistance and reduce road noise by up to six decibels.

“In partnership with Belfast Harbour we’ve been able to develop a bespoke shipping terminal and processing plant which provides some of the world’s highest quality stone,” said Conexpo MD Jonathan McCluskey.

“Co Down quarry gritstone is increasingly in high demand and has been used in road projects from Hong Kong to Rotterdam, not just for initial construction, but also long-term re-surfacing requirements. Our Belfast Harbour facility has the potential to produce 6,000 tonnes every day, crushing and screening precision-sized stone for the complex honeycomb structures used in modern road surfaces.”

Belfast Harbour commercial director Joe O’Neill said: “Stone exports by Conexpo are one of the most significant commodities handled at Belfast Harbour, representing our fastest growing commodity sector over the last five years.

“Belfast Harbour has worked with Conexpo since it was established 25-years ago, developing facilities to support its ambitious growth plans.

“Northern Ireland’s quarry sector provides significant economic and employment opportunities and the Harbour will continue to support Conexpo as it continues to develop new export markets.”

Established more than 25 years ago, Conexpo employs 45 people directly and supports a further 50 jobs, mainly in the haulage sector.

It operates two quarries in Co Down and also procures many thousands of tonnes of stone from neighbouring quarries.