Jim Garrett is the Product Development Specialist for Pinnacle Hire, an industry newcomer which manufactures, hires and sells advanced water treatment, storage and pumping systems for the quarrying and mining segments. He relates how the combined effects of COVID-19 and the weather have grown the company.
How did Pinnacle Hire perform in the pandemic?
Pinnacle Hire was born out of COVID. We’ve traded for the past nine months and we’re pleased at how quickly we’ve grown. La Nina has definitely helped us and we’re benefitting from strong mining and infrastructure sectors in Western Australia and on the east coast. We started in a sister company’s offices in Corio, Victoria and now have a new head office in Rowville. We also have branches in Burnie and Hobart (Tasmania), Karratha, Kalgoorlie, Albany and Perth (WA), and a
sub-branch in Armidale (New South Wales).
What water management challenges are quarries encountering?
There’s two things. There’s La Nina, which has resulted in extra rainfall in some pits, so we’ve had to dewater them quickly. We’ve worked closely with clients to capture and store run-off water from small one-off dams and pump it to main holding dams.
The Victorian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also stepped up requirements for water discharging from site. For quarries with excess water, it has to be cleaned to meet EPA criteria before it can be discharged. The regulations relate to Victoria but similar regulations will be introduced by other EPAs across Australia.
Most commonly, the water has to meet a turbidity reading of 30 NTU (nephelometric turbidity), and this is where our range of water treatment and lamella clarifiers come into play. The water starts as dirty and brown-looking, with a high turbidity of up to 600 NTU, and we reduce it to 30 NTU so we can safely discharge it off-site.
What are Pinnacle’s most popular products in the quarrying industry?
We have more than 100 pumps in the fleet, from small pumps to large pumps powered by 27-litre diesel engines, with the largest capable of heads to 200 metres. The most popular is our high head dewatering pump, with heads of up to 200 metres. There are also standard 152mm (6”) pumps with stand pipes for filling water carts, that’s an in-demand product in the summer months.
Clarifiers can be used across quarries to remove turbidity, suspended particles and discolouration from water, but if there’s higher sand loadings, we use a special model with a rake bottom. We have storage tanks, so if clients want to store additional water, we can assemble tanks on-site (up to 100,000 litres).
Can quarries buy as well as hire plant?
The water treatment gear, and clarifiers and storage tanks are available for hire and sale. Most of our customers hire, and some go with our rent to buy package, where they rent the gear over a set period then pay a small fee to take over ownership of it. With our pumps, an agreement could be as long as a week, or up to several months. For water treatment plant, the hire period could be up to three years.
Why should quarries hire from Pinnacle?
Pinnacle is unique because we’re not just a hire company. We engineer and design the water treatment equipment in Australia, using Australian engineers and Australian steel. We’re designing the plant to suit Australian conditions and specific site conditions. Whether it’s corrosion resistance, high slurry loadings, or salinity, we can fully customise the treatment set-up and build it to a size that accommodates a specific footprint.
Does Pinnacle provide training?
We offer full product training on the pumps and water treatment equipment. It’s popular in remote locations as the client can hire the product at a lower price but doesn’t have to absorb travel costs for servicing, etc.
What innovations are your products adopting to save water and promote sustainability?
We offer full online monitoring and control of pumps and water treatment equipment 24/7, including despatch of alert emails based on flows and parameters. We can remotely monitor various factors – eg a high pH, high salt content, the water is too dirty – and shut the system off to stop the discharge and send an alert to the customer.
We can also dose our stand pipes with dust suppression additives for water cart filling. We also have a remote control start/stop for the pump set, so that when an operator pulls up under the stand pipe, he/she is not climbing out of the truck and manually starting the pump. They stay in the cabin of the truck, hit the start button on the remote, and once the tank is full, hit stop and drive off.
We’re putting into the fleet new pump sets with Tier 4 Final engines, which means fewer emissions. We’re not tied to any one brand, so we’ll choose the most efficient pump set for the application, with preferably the lowest fuel consumption and reduced emissions.We also have new products being launched in our EnviroHub range in 2022, including concrete washout units.
What are the industry’s major challenges in the next three years?
There will be strict quality control for discharging of water off-site, as per EPA directives. Quarries will have to be compliant.
The industry should prepare for the next weather pattern, from La Nina to drought. How can we harvest and retain water now, so we have storage? With drier seasons, how cost-effectively can we use that water? Where we’ve typically used water and let it run off-site and evaporate, we’ll have to harvest the water, put it through clarifiers, and put it back into sealed storage to reuse it again. If we plan effectively, future drought won’t have the same harsh impacts of the past.
For more information about Pinnacle Hire’s products and services, visit pinnaclehire.com.au
This article appears in the January issue of Quarry Magazine.