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Capricorn’s new blocksaw is expected to increase productivity, which could result in lower prices.
Capricorn’s new blocksaw is expected to increase productivity, which could result in lower prices.

Sandstone quarry invests after doubling resource

A family-owned quarry’s investment in a new piece of machinery is set to increase competitiveness in Australian sandstone. 

Queensland-based business Capricorn Sandstone Quarries last week took delivery of a new blocksaw, believed to be the newest in Australia.

The 2016 model, designed by German manufacturer Fickert + Winterling, replaced the business’s older saw, which was retired after nearly 30 years of service.

Capricorn owner Reece Gough said the new machine was computer-operated, fully automatic and capable of operating 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

“It can be programmed to cut dimension blocks to precise parameters,” he stated. “The new saw will provide 24/7 operations, which will significantly increase our output of finished product. Better productivity means lower prices, which means better sales volumes.”

Gough said he had made the investment in response to the granting of a mining lease in December 2015.

“The mining lease doubled the size of our resource, which we have been mining for 20 years. The resource is now over 50ha of sandstone – more than seven million m3 – in one location, over three leases,” he explained.

“The increase in our resource prompted the need to upgrade our processing capability. Whilst there are very few sandstone [suppliers] in Australia, and we face stiff competition from cheap imported materials, the Capricorn resource is significant and of high quality, so this justified the investment in our manufacturing capability.”

Demand for Aussie quality

Gough noted that despite the prevalence of cheaper imported products, the local market – particularly New South Wales – still recognised the value and quality associated with Australian sandstone.

At the time of publication, Capricorn was working on a seawall for Sydney’s Alexandra Canal, with other recently completed projects including Barangaroo Reserve, also in Sydney, and Parliament House in Brisbane.

Looking forward, Gough said the quarry operation also had a project coming up for the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and that the successful tenderer for the $30 million Rockhampton riverbank redevelopment project in Queensland had recently accepted the  business’s quote to supply sandstone pavers.

“Demand continues for a quality product, and that’s what we supply,” he said. “Despite the grim outlook for manufacturing in Australia, we believe that with investments in the right people and the right machinery, sandstone is still a growth market.”

Capricorn is an award-winning sandstone export business located at Stanwell, west of Rockhampton. Its quarry reserve, which was first established by a different operator in the 1800s, is said to be one of the largest dimensional sandstone quarries in Australia. Capricorn’s owners have also previously operated quarries in NSW and Western Australia.

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Wednesday, 21 March, 2018 03:01am
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