Nov 7, 2023 / by IQ News Update

Financial grants awarded to industry professionals to support sustainability projects

Emerald Challenge - Blog header image

Three professionals working in the mineral products sector have received a financial grant from the Institute of Quarrying (IQ) to fund projects that directly support achieving industry net zero and decarbonisation targets.

The IQ had a strong response to its Emerald Challenge grant scheme with the projects submitted covering a diverse range of topics. A project focusing on reducing CO2 emissions in hard rock quarries and another that involves pollution control and water management have been named as the winners. Each project will receive a £2,500 support grant.

The successful application from Thomas Clifford, Director of GEARS Ltd, and Oliver Kibble, Quarry Development Manager at Tarmac, focuses on reducing CO2 emissions in hard rock quarries through enhanced blast fragmentation. The project’s objectives include measuring various parameters during a baseline blast, designing a new blast for improved fragmentation, and then re-measuring the parameters for the improved blast. The potential industry-wide impact of the project will help reduce emissions and achieve cost savings.

Andrew Gall, Civil Engineer at Forestry and Land Scotland, proposed a project that involves pollution control and water management in Scotland's central region. It aims to find an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution for managing silt during timber haulage road construction projects. His plan includes extensive research and testing across different regions of Scotland using sustainable materials known for sediment capture. The judges acknowledged that his idea should be supported so that it can reach its full development potential as the impact on the sector could be significant.

The IQ Emerald Challenge judging panel was made up of leading industry experts, including Viv Russell - IQ President, Ben Uphill - IQ Chair, Steve Cole - IQ Council member, Helen Bailey - IQ Board member, John Austin - University of Derby Centre for Mineral Projects, and Julian Smallshaw - IQ.
The winners were invited to the IQ Fellows Lunch to be presented with their awards and receive their cheques.

Viv Russell, IQ President, says: “I was delighted with the quantity, quality, and diversity of entries for the Emerald Challenge. It made the judging process challenging when narrowing down the applicants but it was a pleasure to receive so many ambitious projects submitted from a range of individuals who clearly share a passion for improving the industry’s sustainability efforts.”

James Thorne, IQ CEO, adds: “Sustainability and decarbonisation have become the leading agenda for our society. The mineral products industry will play a critical role in developing solutions that will put the UK on track to meeting its objective to be Net Zero Carbon by 2050, in line with the COP27 agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Based on the quality of IQ Emerald Challenge applications received, it’s abundantly evident that there’s a collective passion for fostering ideas aimed at safeguarding our environment. On behalf of everyone at the Institute of Quarrying, I would like to congratulate the successful candidates Thomas, Oliver, and Andrew. I look forward to seeing your projects and research ideas coming to fruition in the coming months.”

The Emerald Challenge grant scheme was created by the IQ, the professional body for the quarrying, mineral extraction and processing industries, to support and recognise industry professionals as they develop projects and research ideas to help their organisations and the wider industry meet climate challenges.

Information about the Emerald Challenge is available online -

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