Astec Australia is supporting one of Rockhampton’s major suppliers of hard-rock quarry products to expand its operations.
Already a leading supplier of materials and equipment to Central Queensland’s infrastructure construction industry, Hopkins Brothers has initiated a significant upgrade of its quarry operations at Midgee, 10km south of Rockhampton.
Driven by an uplift in major development projects planned for the region, the expansion will more than double capacity at the Hopkins Brothers quarry. And with almost $2 billion in road infrastructure projects alone planned for the Rockhampton region over the next few years, the upgrade is well-timed.
Infrastructure at the Midgee site is now up to 15 years old and, with the new plant, the company is looking to modernise the site and raise its throughput capability.
Working closely with Hopkins Brothers, Astec Australia has custom-designed the new fixed plant to ensure it meets their customer’s specific needs.
Astec Australia’s senior account manager Shaun Quinn said the project required a plant that was not only fit-for-purpose and user-friendly, but one that delivered a high degree of automation with limited operator interaction.
According to Quinn, the new plant will integrate with the existing operation.
“Much of the existing fixed crushing circuit is made up of Astec Australia equipment, including the Kodiak K300+ Cone Crusher and 6203-32LP Horizontal Screen,” he said.
“The performance and reliability of that equipment is part of the reason Hopkins Brothers approached us to put in the new fixed crushing and screening plant.”
Another reason is the strong partnership between the two companies.
“Our relationship with Astec goes back almost a decade,” Hopkins Brothers’ general manager James Hoseason-Smith said.
“Over those years, Shaun and his team have provided us with really good advice. We’ve had the benefit of their knowledge and experience and it’s served us well.”
Scoping the new plant included a review of tonnage and capacity targets. The current Midgee pit produces a million tonnes of hard rock quarry products a year, with the existing fixed plant averaging 200–250 tonnes per hour. Additional production is generated through an Astec tracked train. With the new fixed plant online, the company is looking to produce more than four times that amount.
“We’ll continue to use the existing fixed plant once the new plant is running,” Hoseason-Smith said. “That means our total site throughput could be as high as 800 tonnes per hour.”
The new plant circuit includes a comprehensive mix of Astec equipment – vibrating grizzly feeder, Horizontal heavy-duty scalping screen, two Kodiak K350+ Cone Crushers, four 6203-32LP Horizontal Screens and a 3500EVT Vertical Shaft Impactor.
Primary jaw crushing at the face will be done by the Astec 3055 mobile jaw crusher that Hopkins Brothers purchased in 2020. Material will be transported overland via a grasshopper conveyor system to the fixed plant for final processing.
“Hopkins Brothers already had good experience with the Kodiak K300+ Cone Crusher. Now the Kodiak K350+ will give them the extra crushing power they’re looking for,” said Quinn.
“Similarly, to match the production requirements of the site, we’ve upgraded from the existing mobile 2500 VSI to the larger 3500 VSI.
“The increased crushing capacity will make sure Hopkins Brothers can fulfil the needs of the local market, and that ability to reliably service their customers is essential.”
Over the past decade, Hopkins Brothers has contributed to a range of high-profile projects in the Rockhampton region, including suppling materials and products to the Rocklands to Stanwell Rail Duplication Project, bridge construction on the Yeppen South Project, and sections of the Bruce Highway reconstruction.
“Through all our operations, Hopkins Brothers has been able to create local jobs and support the region’s continued growth and development,” Hoseason-Smith said. “That’s a role we take seriously, and this expansion at Midgee represents another significant investment by our company into the local community.”
Plans are in place to have the new plant up and running in December. Conveyors and stackers are already on-site, as are the horizontal screens and cone crushers.
Like so many, Astec is navigating delays and disruption in the shipping industry. But Quinn is confident they’ll meet the delivery schedule.
“We’ve taken into account potential manufacturing delays through shortages of steel and other supplies, as well as possible shipping issues, and we’re still on track to turn on the new plant at the back end of this year,” he said.
Commissioning of the new plant at Midgee will be a significant event for Hopkins Brothers and Astec, and also for the delivery of infrastructure construction projects across the Rockhampton region. •
For more information on Astec’s range, visit astecaustralia.com.au
This article also appears in the April edition of Quarry Magazine.