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AusterTana - Quartzite

During the Stone Age rock were important resources for the Stone Age People.
But are yuo aware that rocks still are among the most important resources
in the modern society?
Well, read on....

Quartz (SiO²) is the raw material of a lot of important products.
The photo shows what quartz look like in raw form.
It comes from the quartzine mine at Austertana in Finnmark,
and is produced by Elkem Tana A/S.
They are one of the largest employers in the municipality (which however doesn't mean so much in such
a small municipality), but they run one of the largest quartzite mines in the World.

Have you looked into your computer to see if there are any traces of Quartzite?
Then, don't do it again.
All text and both pictures above borrowed from

Not only is Elkem Tana A/S it the largest quartzite quarry in the world,
but I've also heard that the rock they are drilling in up there
is almost as hard as diamonds.
Several hard working drillers are working around the clock
at the stone and gravel quarry in 17 shifts per week.
These guys manage to pump out 1.2 million tons of rock
while drilling about 40,000 drillmeters each year at the quarry.

What makes their work so special is the nature of the rock,
which is approximately 99 percent quartzite.
With rock this hard, virtually all normal drill bits, in the words of the drillers,
just quickly "turn to butter."

So how hard is it? Well, the locals say that on a scale of 1 to 10,
with diamonds being 10, the Austertana quartzite is a 7. Now that's hard rock!

...and it looks solid, too...
Cutting glass with a piece of stone from the quarry is no problem at all.
But of course, this places extreme demands on their equipment.

Atlas Copco Secoroc has created a specially designed 76 mm drill bit to meet the challenge.
And although the bit has to be sharpened every six drillmeters, the maximum lifetime is 120 drillmeters.

But the rock isn't the only challenge up here.
The weather conditions can get downright nasty at virtually any time of the year,
with temperatures that can drop to -40 C in the winter.
Being able to withstand these extreme weather conditions says a whole lot
about the equipment they are using.

The Tana quarry has been in operation since 1974. Elkem Tana AS has owned the operation since 1985
and since then they've increased the production from 500,000 tons of excavated rock per year
to today’s level of 1.2 million tons.
That makes up for a lot of computers.....

The quartzite is used in the manufacture of a wide range of products.
In addition to use in the production of steel and glass, it's also used in things like computers,
cosmetics, silicone, health food and paint coatings.
In fact quartzite is used in 80% of all the computers made in the world.

The text under the 3 pictures above has been taken from a report by 'Charlie' at

See map of localization here: 

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