Features, News

Seaham Quarry takes on logical successor to decade-old workhorse


Boral’s Seaham Quarry, north of Newcastle, New South Wales, has recently taken delivery of a Komatsu WA600-8 wheel loader – almost exactly 14 years after its predecessor machine, a WA600-6, started work at the quarry. 

When it was delivered to Seaham in late 2005, the WA600-6 was the first of this model to be commissioned in Australia. 

The quarry is Boral’s main source of hard rock for aggregate production serving the Hunter and Port Stephens regions of NSW. 

Like its predecessor, the quarry’s new WA600-8 is being used for both face loading and crusher stockpile handling in a two-shift operation at the quarry – a proven process which has worked successfully for the past 14 years, according to quarry manager Matt Miller. 

Material at Seaham is won through a drill and blast operation, with the WA600-8 used as a face loader, loading two dump trucks which feed the crusher during the day shift (from 6:30am to 3:00pm), as well as the boot bin stockpile adjacent to the crusher. 

During the afternoon shift (from 3:00pm to 10:00pm), it then becomes a stockpile loader, loading material from the boot bin to the crusher. 

“We’ve had a very successful run from the previous WA600-6 since it came onsite in 2005, and that’s the reason we went for Komatsu’s new Dash 8 loader,” Miller said. “Because of its role in the quarry, this loader plays a critical role across both face loading and crusher stockpile handling, so we really depend on it. For that reason, we decided it was time for a new machine. 

During its time at Seaham, the WA600-6 had logged nearly 35,000 hours. In early 2013, at the 21,000-hour mark, Komatsu carried out a rebuild of the loader, including a replacement engine and drivetrain, hydraulic pump and lift and steering cylinders. 

Delivered in early March 2020, Miller said the new WA600-8 has been performing very well in comparison with its predecessor. 

“The fuel burn on it is significantly less than the previous loader. Terry Johnson, our main operator of the loader, and who’s been there since the last one was delivered, is over the moon with it,” he said. “And our relationship with Komatsu, in terms of service and support is something we are definitely happy with. Any time we need something done, we just need to call them, and they’ll come out and sort out any issues for us. 

Komatsu’s WA600-8 is powered by a Komatsu SAA6D170E-7 engine, rated at 395kW net, is available with operating weights from 55.4 to 57.5 tonnes and takes bucket sizes from 6.4m to 7.8m. 

The Tier 4 Final certified engine reduces nitrous oxide and particulate matter levels by up to 90 per cent compared with its Tier 3 predecessors, as well as delivering fuel savings of up to 15 per cent. 

Source: Komatsu Australia

The WA600-8 is powered by a Tier 4 Komatsu engine, rated at 395kW net.