Plans to develop a new smelter site at Lochaber in Scotland by Liberty British Aluminium have taken a step forward with the start of ground investigation work on site.
The intrusive ground investigation work has been designed and managed by Golder Associates and is being delivered on site by Soil Engineering Geoservices.
Results of the work will provide geotechnical and geo-environmental information on the proposed development site which is earmarked for an alloy wheel factory that could manufacture at least a fifth of wheels for all UK cars from 2022 onwards.
The site is immediately to the south of the existing smelter. Part of the site was formerly used by a carbon plant while the rest had previously been commercially forested and is generally described as “peaty hummocky ground”.
liberty wheels factory 02
The work by Soil Engineering follows on from a recent geophysical investigation of the site.
The current investigation comprises approximately 60 boreholes, which will be drilled through the superficial deposits to core into the underlying bedrock, together with about 50 trial pits to characterise the shallower superficial deposits.
The superficial deposits consist of up to 8m of peat above glacial moraine deposits which can contain boulders, the bedrock is a very hard metamorphosed sandstone (psammite).
The ground conditions have called for the use of specialist drilling rigs and Soil Engineering is using a variety of techniques to drill through the strata. Given the terrain, the contractor is using specialist low ground pressure vehicles to move the equipment, and the drill rigs are mounted on custom-made “sledges” for stability on soft ground.