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Major expansion for Tasmanian quarrying operation


Tasmanian aggregate supplier, Hazell Bros, partners with Astec to upgrade the plant at its Leslie Vale site. 

Australia’s infrastructure construction boom has created unprecedented demand for materials across a wide range of industries. 

In response, Hazell Bros – already Tasmania’s largest supplier of quarry products for the building and construction industry – has more than doubled capacity at one of its major sites.

The addition of a new crushing plant at Hazell Bros’ Leslie Vale quarry, 20 kilometres west of Hobart, has transformed the operation. 

Originally designed to increase throughput on the site to 500 tonnes per hour, the new plant is already exceeding expectations.

According to Hazell Bros executive general manager – quarries, Luke Donohue, “the new crushing plant has allowed us to increase throughput by an extra 200 tonnes an hour on top of that.

“It’s a lot more than we were anticipating.”

To help them deliver the expansion project, Hazell Bros turned to long-term partner, Astec. 

“We’ve had a good relationship with Astec over the years,” Donohue said. 

“They work with us in providing solutions to problems and really stand by their equipment.”

Like his customer, Astec’s business line manager – material solutions, Adam Gordon, is delighted with the performance of the new plant. 

“When it was started up on commissioning, the plant was delivering over 600 tonnes an hour,” Gordon explained. 

“And that’s when it was being run in. So as it goes on, we’d expect the throughput to pick up even a bit more.”

Growing operations

The new processing plant at Leslie Vale is made up exclusively of Astec equipment. 

It includes a 50×20 primary feeder, 71-2D488 scalper screen, MBS12 boom system and two PF4272 solid pan feeders.

But the real power is delivered by Astec’s 46-tonne 4450 jaw crusher. 

This jaw crusher is the third largest of Astec’s range and is the first to be supplied in Australia. 

In particular Astec’s 4450 Jaw Crusher is known for its size and sheer power.  

“It’s 1.1 metres deep, by 1.3 metres wide – that’s nearly the size of a mini car – and then, if you throw that mini into it, it will break it down into sizes between watermelons and rockmelons – about 150mm to 250mm – and all the way down to nothing,” Gordon explained. 

“Then this primary crushed material will go up into a surge pile because the production between the jaw crusher goes up and down depending on the size of the rocks and their geological properties.

“Then from the surge pile is where the secondary crushers claim that material back and send it into other crushers that then reduce it down into smaller fractions, like 20mm, 14mm, 10mm and so forth, that are used in concrete and asphalt,” he said. 

Hazell Bros’ Leslie Vale site consists of three extractive operations that supply source rock to a single, fixed crushing and screening plant. 

The quarry produces around 900,000 tonnes of crushed dolerite a year, in various aggregate sizes, as well as engineered pavement materials and landscaping stone.

Leslie Vale is one of Hazell Bros’ five hard rock quarries across Tasmania. The others are at Raeburn, Long Hill, Tunbridge and Mangalore. 

The company also operates a sand quarry at Beauty Point. 

A Solid Foundation

Established in 1944 by brothers Donald and Rowley Hazell, the company has operated for almost 80 years. 

It began as a transport business based in southern Tasmania. 

Before long the brothers moved into earthmoving and, eventually, in the 1970s, into civil construction.

What followed was a period of significant growth as Hazell Bros continued to diversify its operations. 

The company has expanded into South Australia and Queensland, and Hazell Bros today employs more than 700 people around the country. 

It remains a family-owned and run business, with second generation brothers Geoffrey and Robert Hazell heading up operations.

Like Hazell Bros, Astec has enjoyed a long and successful history. 

Established in 1972, Astec Industries is in its 50th year of operation, headquartered in Tennessee, USA, the company has a global reach.

It comprises 16 brands, offering specialised equipment for asphalt road building, aggregate processing, and concrete production.

Going above and beyond

As a brand, Astec has built its reputation on high-quality equipment and first-class customer service, and that has been the foundation of the strong partnership between Astec and Hazell Bros. 

“We bought our first piece of equipment from Astec,” Donohue explained.

 “We’ve continued to purchase from them over the years. 

“In return, they’ve really looked after us and have always been there to provide support. And they stand by their equipment.

“If there’s ever any issue, they take care of it.

“Astec are extremely responsive when it comes to support and aftercare, too,” Donohue added. 

“They’ve even pulled parts off new stock equipment for us. They just provide us with really good service.”

Gordon agreed with Donohue’s assessment of the relationship between the two companies.

“We’ve developed a good partnership with Hazell Bros over the years – they’re a great company. We’re a good fit for each other.”

On top of that ‘good fit’, Donoghue explained that his company’s decision to go with Astec for the new processing plant was also based on the reliable performance of their existing Astec equipment.

“It was the suitability and availability of the Astec equipment we needed for this project,” Donohue said. 

“I’d had some previous experience with the big Astec jaw crushers and knew they performed very well. 

“In addition to that, Astec provided us with a very competitive price and a great solution for what we wanted to achieve. 

“So, we went with the Astec 4450 Jaw crusher and the other Astec equipment and ended up with a really good crushing plant that’s exceeding our expectations and producing at higher levels than planned,” Donohue said. 

Investing in the right equipment is key

Gordon pointed out the benefits of investing in new equipment.

“This was a plant replacement project brought about by the age and fatiguing of the original plant,” he explained.

“But it also created an opportunity because things have changed a lot from when the original plant was built 40 years ago.

“Customers’ needs, and the market itself, are totally different now.”

“The benefit of starting with a clean sheet is that we can look to the future,” he continued.

“So we think about not only where the market is today, but where it’s going to be in ten, 20, 30 years’ time – and we build a plant that will meet those needs as well.

“A new plant will deliver big productivity gains today, then when the time comes, we can bring in the next upgrade, and then the next one after that, and so on.”

According to Gordon, it is also crucial to invest in high-quality plant and equipment. “If your equipment is going to last for up to 40 years, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it through all those years. 

“A lot of equipment can look the same,” Gordon pointed out, “but in regard to steel, the composition will make a world of difference. 

“Take crushing gear, for example. It has to be robust. 

“If you’ve got cheap 250 grade steel in the build, it’ll just get destroyed, especially with high quality material. 

“At Astec, we use 400 grade steel, which is 50 per cent stronger for the same thickness, and that’s going to take a much greater load,” Gordon explained. 

“Our equipment is built to last.”

It’s a strategy Hazell Bros supports. 

Luke Donohue has no doubt his company’s investment in the Leslie Vale expansion project will deliver not only immediate results in terms of increased output, but also long-term support for the continued growth of the business.•

Visit astecindustries.com for more information.

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