An Honorary Fellow of the IQA, David Hogan has been a stalwart of the International quarrying industry for more than 40 years.
From hard rock quarrying to holding a shotfirer’s licence, David Hogan has seen and done a lot in the quarrying industry in Australia and overseas.
What are some of the highlights of your career in the quarrying industry?
Some of the highlights have been from my involvement in new quarry developments from the concept stage through to producing their first tonne of material. Those within the industry know this can be measured in the tens of years and I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with many.
Being involved in the development of the first hard rock quarry for Pioneer Concrete in Brisbane was a transformational time for the company and the industry by moving away from dredging the Brisbane River for concrete aggregates as our primary source of raw materials.
Being the first Pioneer employee in Queensland to attain a shotfirer’s licence also keeps me humbled and grounded. That is something I’ve carried in my wallet for many years as a reminder of where I came from and how hard quarry work can be.
The relocation of the Herne Hill quarry to the current Red Hill quarry site in Perth, WA, was a major undertaking. Not only for the new quarry development and new fixed plant, but the most significant effort was to bring the local community along with us. This was the first time we had “opened our gates” to showcase to the community that we were and could be a good neighbour.
Leading the greenfield development of a new quarry and port facility producing seven million tonne per year at the Hui Dong quarry in the Guangdong Province of mainland China also remains a highlight.
The quarry was an integrated and collaborative approach with our key 50 per cent joint venture partner in Hong Kong, K Wah Construction Materials, plus our technical teams from CCM in Heidelberg Cement along with many layers of government in mainland China. The site is now showcased by government departments and studied throughout China as one of the most sustainable and green quarries.
But most of all, the highlight for me has been meeting and interacting so many wonderful – and colourful – Institute of Quarrying (IOQ) members around the world.
Advice is always offered freely, particularly at social events after a few beers, but done so in meaningful and respecful way. I’ve travelled to all IOQ/IQA countries and without exception the sincerity and character of the members is second to none.
Receiving the IOQ’s Caernarfon Award along with my co-authors of David Pallet and Geoffrey Chan was also recognition of the forward thinking work we were achieving in Hong Kong at the time.
How has your interaction and involvement with the IOQ and IQA benefitted you?
Being an IOQ/IQA member has allowed me to grow my career both nationally and internationally by building capability and knowledge and gaining a deep understanding of all the components that make up a quarry business.
I also benefitted greatly in my early years with the Pioneer Concrete graduate management program insofar as they were equally as good in terms of a learning organisation across the entire scope and functionality of the business.
The benefit to me was being a classically trained ‘generalist’ with the confidence and skills to lead and manage any business, anywhere.
What essential role do the IOQ and IQA play within the quarrying industry?
They have played many important and fundamental roles within the quarrying industry; however, the key role remains training and education, continuously improving our people through programs and initiates that drives the professionalism of our people in our industry and those organisations that support our industry.
The IOQ and the IQA are also such well-regarded and credible professional bodies in the jurisdictions in which they operate that we are often the go-to organisation for all levels of governments to interact with on strategy, policy, and standards.
Along with the industry trade associations, the IQA has an important role to play to ensure we can coexist within our communities.
Combining these two key essential roles of the IQA has helped us shape the future of the industry. From where it is today to where it was when I first started, the IQA and its members can certainly be proud of its achievements.
Is there any advice you would give to those entering the industry?
Be patient, be proud, and at all times defend what our industry does and don’t let anyone demonise what we do.
Remember that our industry provides all the raw materials used in building our roads, highways, freeways our houses, our buildings, airports, ports and associated infrastructure that supports a developing or developed society.
Secondly, our industry is typically quite conservative and change takes longer. I recently came across an Eljay 54-inch cone crusher in Brisbane that Bronco Johnson and I worked with in some central Queensland mobile operations 30-plus years ago, but it’s nevertheless still going strong. The only change was that it had some new sensors attached.
The industry is also extremely capital-intensive and planning windows can be in the multiple decades. So getting progression and traction takes time.
Lastly, look beyond what we do tactically and try and consider all the stakeholders that have skin in the game. It’s likely your decisions will be different and more balanced.
What are some of the larger problems facing the industry?
Some of the larger issues remain getting access to privileged geological assets close to markets that provide long-term raw material security to the industry and our end users. In most markets I’m associated with, replenishment cannot keep up with demand over the long term.
Being an industry working closer to built up communities presents its own unique set of challenges. On the one hand, society needs our raw materials at the most basic level to progress, but at the same time society doesn’t want to be impacted by our activities.
The quarry industry is always faced with a perception – mostly not a positive one – that we are dirty, dusty and noisy. And historically and at times we may have been guilty of fuelling this perception; however, that was a long time ago.
Since then, the quarry industry has come a long way to turn this around by working collaboratively and openly with our communities and seeking their contribution and ideas on what we can do better. I expect this to accelerate as companies such as Heidelberg Materials and other major players continue to drive their sustainability targets and obligations down to operational levels.
The last challenge I would make to our industry leaders is to look far beyond the lifecycle of the quarry itself. In the eyes of the communities we work in, the quarrying component is only an interim process. The land formation left behind is the final component.
Be visionary and engineer the final land formation in mind before we start quarrying. In most cases, that final land formation can be more valuable to the company and the community once completed.
Is there anyone else you’d like to mention?
Firstly, my family. They are my foundations. Most people fall into the quarry industry. In my case I was born into it with my dad being the Financial Controller for Pioneer for 36 years. I’ve also had Uncles, bothers, cousins in the industry and more recently sons, daughters and now a nephew all involved in the quarry and construction materials industry. We do have some interesting Christmas lunches!
I’d like to add a note of thanks to my employers and the leaders I have had the privilege to work with over the years, namely Pioneer Concrete, Hanson Australia, Cheung Kong Infrastructure and Heidelberg Materials.
Some might say 43 years in the construction materials industry is too much, but from my first humble beginnings at Ferny Grove quarry in Brisbane I have lived and worked in most states of Australia.
I have lived and worked in Hong Kong for 15 years and have worked extensively throughout Mainland China. And in the last seven years my role has taken me to the US, Canada, Poland, Germany, the UK, Norway, Sweden, West Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, to name a few.
The opportunity to shape the future of our business never gets tiring and when you wake up every day to something you enjoy doing immensely, then it’s not just work.