Case Studies, Crushing, Features, News, Plant & Equipment

Crushing difficult dirt with support a stone’s throw away

 

Walker Quarries has used Wirtgen mobile equipment to turn a mountainous quartzite resource into a growing operation 150km west of Sydney. 

Originally touted as a gold mine, then a silica sands mine, the site was eventually given a life producing hard rock for Western Sydney’s construction industry from mid-2015. 

With approval to produce up to 500,000 tonnes per annum (tpa), the namesake operator of Walker Quarry has been growing year-on-year with the help of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Wirtgen’s range and support. 

With a workshop just a stone’s throw from Walker Quarry, Wirtgen was the easy choice for operations manager Trevor Hoffmann.

“The Kleemann decision was brought about by a couple of things. Kleemann is well-designed and manufactured with a background in German engineering,” he told Quarry.

“The other factor was that Kleemann’s parent company, Wirtgen, have a location about an hour and a half away in Emu Plains. So it was a good decision for us based on quality and proximity.”

Walker Quarries has a wide range of Kleemann gear, including screens and crushers. 

On the crushing side, the operation uses three MC110R jaw crushers, two MR130Z impact crushers, and one MCO9S closed circuit cone crushers. 

These units were chosen for their hard-wearing and mobile design, as is typical for Kleemann equipment. Hoffmann said these units were a no-brainer given the site’s mountainous nature and the lack of utilities. 

“It was originally a greenfields site with no plans or accommodation to install a fixed plant,” he said. 

“There was no fixed power to the site, so it had to be quarried with mobile gear, and it remains this way as we continue to expand.”

“You can’t really go past German engineering in your own backyard.”

When Hoffmann began work at Walker four and a half years ago, the operation was only producing about 90Ktpa. 

The team is now pushing 300Ktpa, with the Kleemann equipment not hurting its chances of increasing towards 500Ktpa over the coming years. 

But it will be no easy feat – the Walker resource holds some of the tougher material found across the Australian quarrying industry, according to Hoffmann.

Walker Quarries has turned a difficult asset into a profitable operation.

“The quartzite we mine is extremely abrasive. We use ground-engaging tools with significant wear components and we’re constantly speaking with Wirtgen to understand how we can better utilise our equipment to manage this kind of material,” he said.

“The rock is not only very abrasive, but it’s got its own mind in terms of how it wants to break. We’re very particular about the shape of our aggregate and the impact crushers we use put us in a good position to supply specific products to the market.”

And while Wirtgen is always happy to recommend textbook methods of using the crushing equipment – running aggflows and maintenance plans with all its customers – the machines’ versatility allows Hoffmann to find new and exciting ways to get the best out of his operation. 

“Knowing our material best, we prefer to use it in slightly different ways, but we’re always working to learn from one another,” Hoffmann said. 

“Wirtgen have brought their own potential clients to Walker Quarry to show how we use the equipment in our own way compared to the textbook fashion.”

Wirtgen will be heavily involved in the future at Walker, according to Hoffmann, with plans to add various products to its output, including river pebbles. 

“Part of our future is to install a new sand-washing plant by the end of this year, which will be used to wash all the tailings off of our quartzite,” he said. 

“Wirtgen will continue to play a big part in our expansion and we expect to be partners with the them for a long time.” •

For more information on the Kleemann range of crushers, visit wirtgen-group.com/en-au

This article also appears in the April edition of Quarry Magazine.

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