Cutting wheel excavators dig quarry into China market

Two Case Construction excavators have enabled a Queensland sandstone company to increase its production almost sevenfold to cope with massive Chinese export demands.

Capricorn Sandstone Quarries recently received the Tom Burns Award for Emerging Exporters to China and Vietnam at the Premier of Queensland?s Export Awards in Brisbane. It is in the final stages of negotiating sales orders for more than 20,000 tonnes of sandstone to be delivered to China within the next 18 months. The impressive deal almost triples export demands for the Stanwell-based company that sent 7000t to Shanghai and Beijing in the past 18 months.

?Our CX240B excavators have played a big part in our success,? said Reece Gough, site senior executive for Capricorn Sandstone Quarries. ?We got our first CX240B excavator in 2007 and we produced 10,000t of sandstone. As demand grew, we purchased another CX240B in 2009 and we now mine 20,000t a year. Before we had the two Case excavators, sandstone output was at 3000t a year.

?Our company has been quarrying at Stanwell since 1994 and a substantial investment has been directed towards machinery and quarry development. Our Case machines, operating in the extreme conditions of a sandstone quarry, give us reliable performance.?

One of the excavators is used to operate a 3m wheel for cutting sandstone. The other CX240B is used for cutting wheel and hammer work at the quarry.

?Working 12-hour shifts for more than a year, the excavators have clocked up over 8000 hours of cutting wheel and hammer work between them. The excavators undergo regular maintenance and have had very little downtime,? said Reece. ?We?re also pleased with the fuel economy. We use between 13 and 16 litres of fuel an hour.?

Nationally, Capricorn Sandstone Quarries has supplied its sandstone to the Queensland and New South Wales Governments, local councils and commercial construction companies for heritage restoration and new building projects.

?We supplied the sandstone for Parliament House in Brisbane, the Citibank building in Sydney and St Joseph?s Cathedral in Rockhampton,? said Reece. ?The national economy has slowed down, so we decided to turn our focus to the export market.?

That focus paid off recently when Capricorn Sandstone Quarries won the Trade Queensland Emerging Exporter of the Year award at the local Capricorn Tourism and Economic Development and Ergon Energy Business Excellence Awards and then the Tom Burns Award for its exports to China at the Premier of Queensland?s Export Awards, both in November 2010.

Capricorn Sandstone Quarries now exports its product to China, South East Asia and the Middle East.

?The sandstone goes in large blocks and is then cut into slabs for wall panels and decorative carvings for luxury residential building projects,? explained Reece. ?We?ve now got high production at the quarry, so we can build our sandstone stockpile to fast track any future orders.?

Source: Case Construction/Hardman Communications

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