Correct equipment procurement key to improving profitability of quarries

An area of possible improvement for quarries is the correct procurement of mobile equipment.

Best practices from across the globe were highlighted at the Global Aggregates Information Network (GAIN) meeting recently held in Cape Town, South Africa, where GAIN coordinator, Jim O’Brien, shared his thoughts on the adoption of best practices which can streamline quarry operations to produce more products, more efficiently from the point of extraction through to delivery.

He noted that an area of possible improvement is the correct procurement of mobile plant (loaders, dump trucks) to matching excavators and similarly for loaders to work efficiently with truck logistics. “Stockpiling and recovery if done correctly can minimise double/multiple handling which costs money and, furthermore, better sand and gravel winning techniques throughout the plant can develop profitable streams turning waste into saleable products,” says O’Brien.

Due to the comparatively high barriers to entry into the quarrying market in terms of capital equipment costs, the cost of compliance, licencing and high road transport costs, quarries can only operate cost effectively within a local market area of up to 50km radius from the site. “It therefore needs to operate efficiently as it has a ‘captive market’ and cannot really look for expansion outside those confines.”

Equipment Africa says: Matching equipment that works together on site is of essence. For example, it is very important to match the hauling truck with the right-sized excavator for any load and haul operation. Considering the amount of fuel a mining excavator consumes, the ideal cycle is where the truck arrives just in time to be loaded by the excavator.

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