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Quarry-turned-landfill embraces in-pit crushing solution


A Victorian family-run business has made the transition from quarrying to recycling and landfill services – all with the assistance of a mobile, in-pit crushing solution. Damian Christie visited the SBI Group’s Cranbourne Quarry.

The SBI Group is a family-owned quarrying-cum-landfill business in Cranbourne, in the south-eastern suburbs between Melbourne and Frankston, and heading towards the Mornington Peninsula. Its quarry has been operating since the 1950s and for many years supplied sand and topsoil to the Victorian market. In the 1980s, the 64ha site began extracting the sedimentary rock beneath its sand reserves and much of this material has in the subsequent decades been sold to local infrastructure projects, including the Western Port Highway, the Eastlink tollway between Ringwood and Frankston, and Peninsula Link.

Quarry first visited the site for a story in 2012 when the business was gradually moving from running a static plant to crushing and screening at the face of the 30-metre-deep pit. At the time, the company invested in a McCloskey J50 tracked jaw crusher and a 5m x 1.5m (16’ x 5’) R155 heavy-duty mobile screen, which were supplied by MSC Group, the eastern states dealer for McCloskey.1 Subsequently, the SBI Group was able to raise the throughput of its mobile operations by more than 30 per cent – from 400 tonnes per hour (tph) to 600 tph.

Quarry visited the site again in 2017. At this point, SBI’s crushing operations were being completely managed from within the pit – with a mobile circuit comprising the J50, a C44 tracked cone crusher, the R155 and a 6m x 1.5m S190 mobile screen. The quarry was also in a state of transition. SBI Group was applying to transform the Cranbourne site’s operations from a working quarry to a landfill and recycling operation and had invested significant sums of funds into planning, designing and constructing a highly specialised, safe and environmentally responsible landfill at the bottom of the pit.

That plan has now been realised, and at time of press, the SBI Group has formally begun accepting solid inert waste, construction and demolition materials, and commercial and industrial waste. It will not, however, be taking household, toxic or liquid wastes. Where possible, the group’s policy is to divert materials from the landfill for reclaiming or recycling for future re-use, eg rocks, soils, timbers, and clean concrete. Going forward, the operation’s end products will include VicRoads-approved Class 3 and Class 4 recycled concrete, 20mm + 40mm road base, 100mm clean rubble, 40mm + 75mm VicRoads Type A products, and pugmilled wet mix.

When the landfill area is eventually complete, SBI Group is proposing to rehabilitate the land for a public opening space that will either be controlled by the City of Casey or will be included in an expansion of the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens of Cranbourne – which also began life as a quarry.

SBI Group switched to a mobile quarry for economic and practical reasons.


Throughout the past decade, MSC Group and its tracked McCloskey products have been a constant of the SBI Group’s operations. Having assisted in taking over the burden of the crushing load from SBI’s old static plant, MSC and its mobile plant and equipment are well established to assist with processing reclaimed rock and recycled aggregates in the next phase of SBI Group’s operations. Indeed, the company has plenty of experience in rehabilitation operations at the former 142-year-old Lilydale Quarry to the north-east, crushing overburden rock and soil there for the eventual filling in of the quarry void.

MSC Group has had a very similar closed crushing circuit in operation at Lilydale Quarry as it has had at Cranbourne. The McCloskey J50 V2 jaw crusher, with its high jaw speed, ensures better reduction and faster processing of material through the crushing chamber. The McCloskey C44 V2 secondary cone crusher has a high material capacity and throughput.

The McCloskey R155 reclaimer has an open feed hopper and heavy-duty apron feeder, making it well suited to processing bulky material. The McCloskey S190 secondary screen features adjustable screenbox angles that allow adaptability to a wide range of material applications.

Paul Williamson, the managing director of SBI Group, told Quarry that the company chose to move to a mobile crushing circuit at the quarry face for economical and practical reasons, including cartage. 

“Obviously, crushing at the face is far more viable, rather than putting it in the back of dump trucks and carting it up to crush it at the top of the pit,” he explained. “Here, we’ve had customers drive down to the face to pick it up – and depending on your cartage or the sort of trucks you’re using, that can cost between two and four dollars per tonne [of fuel] to get that rock up out of the hole.”

Williamson said he expanded his in-pit crushing circuit in anticipation of the change from outright quarrying to recycled crushing. “I just needed a closed circuit in order to make road base,” he said. “Another part of it was that I knew we were going into concrete recycling. Mobile plant and gear is better suited for that. I’ve also found with fixed plant that you start throwing good money after the bad. In terms of throughput, our old plant was lucky by the end of its life to be generating about 100 tph. A mobile circuit with an open system can generate up to 300-plus tonne tph. Even in a closed recirculated system, you can still manage 240 tph.”

Williamson also found that the R155 reclaimer was a valuable, simple addition to the mobile circuit. “With the R155, you can make a rubble and a minus, which is ideal for concrete recycling. The R155 is also perfect for separating all of the contaminants from that concrete, and once you’ve got that clean base concrete, then you’re ready to put it into the cone to make your road base.”

The reclaimer was also a good choice because he was reluctant to feed straight from the jaw into the cone. “You never want to put anything into the cone that you don’t have to. If the product is already reduced, why put it through the cone crusher and create extra wear? For me, the reclaimer worked out really well because it gives you that scalping product, which is quite a saleable product around here, and it just gives you a really clean cone feed.”


Compared to a fixed plant crushing circuit, Williamson also said that a mobile circuit is autonomous enough and self-sufficient that it can be supervised by as few as two workers operating other machinery in the pit at any one time. They can monitor and stop and start the circuit accordingly with remote controls. “I can have an excavator feeding the plant at one end and another guy on the sales end,” he said. “That is the beauty of mobile crushing – as opposed to staying in a control room on a fixed plant, with a guy sitting there for eight hours, maybe pressing ‘start’ or ‘stop’ five times a day.”

Williamson said that he chose MSC Group, represented by its Victorian sales manager Ian McCartney, and McCloskey for his mobile crushing circuit because MSC was, like SBI Group, a family-run business and had a proven record of supplying parts
when required.

“For me, product support is huge,” he explained. “You can buy cheaper gear out there but you don’t want to be chasing parts around, especially when you have thousands of tonnes going out. At the end of the day it’s just a matter of ‘go, go, go’ and I hate saying ‘no’ to customers. For that reason, MSC ‘gets’ the support. It has a really good aftermarket service and it’s run by a couple of brothers [Kirwan and Philip Barr] who you can ring if you have any dramas. You can effectively talk to the bloke who runs the company, and that’s a big thing for me.”

Williamson was also pleased with the performance of his mobile fleet. “They’ve been very good, no problems. I’ve probably hired most of the major brands at various times, I haven’t owned a lot of them, and by comparison, I find McCloskey to be a good, solid basic design. It’s like that C50 tracked cone. When you look at the cone, it has a big chassis, there’s the hopper that feeds into the cone, and then onto another conveyor. 

“Oh, and the machines are the same colour as SBI green, that made it easier to choose too!” Williamson quipped.

On that basis, one can expect MSC’s mobile plant to be a mainstay of SBI Group’s operations as its landfill and recycling operations take root.  

The McCloskey C44 cone crusher.


McCloskey’s mobile plant and equipment is available to the South Australian, Western Australian and Northern Territory markets through 888 Crushing & Screening Equipment.

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