Quarrying in the Area
Today, on the site of the Geopark, in the two areas where quarrying is permitted, the Mitsero and Pharmakas quarries produce some 2,200,000 tons of aggregates, covering approximately 22% of the island’s needs.
On the northern edge of Mitsero village in the Nicosia district, there are six quarries, each with their own crushing units. The rock that is quarried in this particular area is reef limestone of the Koronia geological formation, some 6.5 million years old (Upper Miocene).
Production from the quarries amounts to around 1,200,000 tons of aggregates, mostly sand for use in the construction industry. Exploitation is carried out through open-cast mining and the quarrying of the rock is done with the help of mechanical means and, wherever necessary, with explosives.
As for processing, this is carried out by the crushing units which break, sieve and wash the materials to produce concrete and sand for the construction industry and a special mixture of concrete and sand for use in road building.
For the record, it is worth noting that the first quarry operated in the area in 1973 at a site where the amount of calcium carbonate contained in the reef limestone was extremely high and thus suitable for the production of raw material to supply a lime and slaked lime production unit. This unit is still in operation today – the only one in Cyprus – with an average annual production of 12,000 tons of lime. It features a blast furnace in which limestone is heated to 1000°C and transformed into lime (CaO), a slaking unit in which water is added to the lime to make slaked lime (Ca(OH)2), and a bagging unit. The lime produced is used mainly in the construction industry, in road making and in water refinement plants.
In the village of Pharmakas in the Nicosia district there is a single quarry that covers the whole of the quarrying area. The rock that is quarried is diabase, the most prevalent formation of the Troodos ophiolite complex and the main rock of Cyprus, for the production of aggregates for the construction industry and mainly for road building.
From the operations of this particular quarry, some 1,100,000 tons of aggregates are produced every year. Exploitation is carried out through open-cast mining and the quarrying of the rock, due to its hardness and consistency, always requires the use of explosives.
Processing is carried out by an appropriate crushing unit which breaks, sieves and washes the material. The mud produced during the washing of the sand is pumped out and filtered for easier environmental management.