In June this year, we celebrated 30 years of partnership with the Spanish Del Carmen quarry. In August 1992, SSQ founder Ahmed El-Helw first met the Del Carmen owners. He was extremely impressed by their professionalism and the superior quality of their slate. 30 years on and the partnership is still going strong with Del Carmen slates one of SSQ’s most sought-after products.

A unique natural setting for superior slate

Del Carmen quarry

To mark three decades of working together, we decided to offer our customers a behind the scenes look at the Del Carmen quarry. This will give architects, roofing installers, and consumers an opportunity to understand more about the processes involved in producing some of the world’s most distinctive slates.

The Del Carmen quarry is located in the Cabrera Mountains in North West Spain. It is one of the largest quarries in the country and contains uninterrupted seams of high-quality slate. Del Carmen slate has been created by centuries of geological processes. It’s distinctive blue-black colour, characteristic longitudinal grain and faintly rippled texture create a slate which is aesthetically attractive while also being extremely strong and durable.

On-site slate production

Del Carmen quarry

All slate which is mined at the Del Carmen quarry is processed on-site. This helps to streamline procedures, improving efficiency, and reducing production times. Large sections of slate are carefully removed from the mountainside using JCBs. The slate is then transported to the production hall where it is placed on a conveyor belt and taken into the building for inspection and cutting.

Using the latest diamond wheel cutting machines, the slate is measured and cut into uniform sections. The sections of slate are then inspected for quality and their intended use is decided. The slates are then split by hand in half, then into quarters and in some cases into eighths. The slates are then holed, dressed, counted, and stacked in wooden pallets ready for transportation to the Spanish ports.

From the central warehouse to the UK and beyond

Del Carmen quarry

At SSQ, we buy slates directly from the Del Carmen depot located just outside La Bana village. It is easily accessible via the Spanish motorway network with road links across Europe. Thousands of pallets of Del Carmen slate are stored at the warehouse ready for distribution.

From here, the slates are transported via road across Spain to ports on the North West coast such as Bilbao. The pallets are then loaded onto freighters to be transported along the Spanish and French coasts to finally arrive in the UK at Portbury docks.

Del Carmen slates have been used across the world in a wide variety of different roofing projects. If you’d like to find out more about Del Carmen slates or any of our other roofing materials, contact SSQ today. You can call us on 020 8961 7725 or send us a message online.