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Conference delegates at Hanson’s Bohle Quarry view the in-pit demonstration.
Conference delegates at Hanson’s Bohle Quarry view the in-pit demonstration.
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Going troppo: The 2013 Annual Conference

Brilliant sunshine, blue skies, blue ocean, hot weather, sunglasses, T-shirts and shorts were the order of the day as the IQA’s 56th annual conference went “troppo” this year, setting up camp in the picturesque settings of the Jupiters Townsville. Damian Christie reports.

This was the second IQA conference in recent years to be held at a regional venue, after the successful Hunter Valley meeting in October 2011. The conference, which ran from 18 to 21 September was attended by over 300 delegates from across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Ireland and the US.

The theme for this year’s conference was Diversity and opportunity, which strongly emphasised North Queensland’s character and challenges and the prospects available to the business sector and local communities. The conference also sought to showcase the latest innovations in quarry practices and equipment. 

In addition to the plenary sessions which focused on topics such as leadership and teamwork, education and training, human resources, fleet optimisation, mobile plant innovation and health and safety, the delegates were transported to Holcim Bohle Quarry on 20 September to see a first-hand demonstration of earthmoving equipment and mobile crushing and screening plant.

The quarry visit was an opportunity for major plant and equipment suppliers to show off their “pride and joy” in addition to providing their much appreciated industry support. There were 22 exhibitors in a specially set up marquee over the three and a half days at Jupiters Townsville and delegates were encouraged to visit all the booths during the breakfast, tea and luncheon breaks and happy hours to network and win some prizes!

The platinum sponsors for the conference were Caterpillar of Australia, Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) and Komatsu Australia, while CJD Equipment was the registration partner and Babcock Australia the coffee cart sponsor. Hyundai Construction Equipment Australia sponsored the golf day on 18 September, which was attended by 60 delegates and local industry people and raised $5500 on behalf of the Australian Institute of Quarrying Education Foundation (AIQEF). Astec Australia and Locker Group supported the happy hours and Orica once again sponsored the official partners’ program.

OPENING NIGHT
The annual conference began poolside on the evening of 18 September with the Hitachi Welcome Function. Paul Mandeno, Hitachi’s national major accounts manager, presented the Hitachi Gold Hard Hat Award for the best individual contribution for the advancement of occupational health and safety in the quarry industry to Richard Tomkins of Boral Quarries, Seaham, NSW. Mandeno also discussed his trip earlier this year to the Kokoda Trail with NSW Illawarra sub-branch secretary Mike Kelly, the two successfully raising $16,200 between them on behalf of Hitachi and Hanson Australia for Legacy. Mandeno formally presented the cheque to Legacy representatives on the night.

The major source of entertainment for the evening was costume transformation act Soul Mystique. Performers Gavin Skinner and Lydia Lym had tongues wagging as delegates marvelled at the lightning transformation – or “meta-morphing” – of the two artistes’ outfits on stage.

The plenary sessions commenced on the morning of 19 September, with the local Pimlico State High School’s music band providing a range of classical compositions for the opening ceremony. The Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, the Honourable Andrew Cripps MP, formally opened proceedings, warmly welcoming visitors from outside Townsville - with the pointed exception of Cronulla supporter Jim Hankins whose team, thanks to a controversial referee decision, had beaten the North Queensland Cowboys in the National Rugby League elimination final the weekend before!

In his presentation, Cripps acknowledged the challenges of quarrying in Far North Queensland (FNQ). Although urban development is one of the biggest drivers of construction, space for quarries is becoming increasingly limited as cities expand. The role of the Queensland Department of Natural Resources Management, he said, is to strike the balance between protecting the environment and implementing economic development. 

The minister reported that the Queensland Government is keen to introduce new Key Resource Areas into FNQ to encourage growth in the region, especially as the proposed expansion of the Port of Townsville will require construction materials in the short term.

Cripps also discussed the Queensland Mines Inspectorate’s newly launched 2012-13 performance report for mine health and safety. He commented that there was an improvement in quarrying safety statistics in 2012-13, with a marked reduction in lost time injuries (LTIs) and no fatalities. His challenge to quarry operators was to keep “doing better”. 

He also discussed Queensland’s role in the National Mine Safety Framework (NMSF) and encouraged the industry to submit comments to the state’s consultation regulatory impact statement that discusses additional “non-core” safety provisions that will supplement the “core” provisions agreed within the NMSF.

FROM AGITATOR TO ADVOCATE
The keynote speaker for the conference was Mark Chellew, the chief executive officer of Adelaide Brighton. Chellew, who started in the construction materials industry as an engineer, spoke on a range of issues: recruitment, training and retention of personnel, gender and cultural diversity, engagement with local communities and health and safety (including random testing of workers for drugs and alcohol). 

The Caterpillar 980K is flanked by the Precisionscreen RTS80 radial stacker, the Sandvik UJ440i and the Caterpillar 385C.
The Caterpillar 980K is flanked by the Precisionscreen RTS80 radial stacker, the Sandvik UJ440i and the Caterpillar 385C.
James O’Loughlin emphasised that you do not have to be especially creative or hyper-intelligent to be inventive.
James O’Loughlin emphasised that you do not have to be especially creative or hyper-intelligent to be inventive.
IQA General Manager Paul Sutton acknowledges the fine work of the organising committee of the Townsville conference.
IQA General Manager Paul Sutton acknowledges the fine work of the organising committee of the Townsville conference.
He provided some interesting personal anecdotes as part of his presentation, commenting that he was in a unique position in the industry of having lobbied for and against quarries in his lifetime.

As an agitator in 1981, Chellew opposed efforts by the New South Wales Government to introduce a quarry in the Mount Misery region. 

Ironically, in 2007, as CEO of Adelaide Brighton (a role he has occupied since 2001), Chellew oversaw Adelaide Brighton’s acquisition of the Austen Quarry, near the Blue Mountains. Six years on, the operation, which was originally commissioned at a capital cost of $32 million, is now an important supplier of aggregate, including manufactured sand, to the Sydney market, when all the forecasts of competitors was that a quarry on the western side of the Blue Mountains would never work. He was confident Austen Quarry will grow in importance as quarries close to major metropolitan areas in the Sydney region continue to be phased out.

Another of the major speakers on the first morning of the conference was Craig James, the chief equities officer for CommSec, who provided an overview of how the economy will impact on the extractive industry. He emphasised that Australian businesses now have to change their mindset to economic matters and adapt to new technologies. 

In James’ words, businesses still view the global economy as “cactus”, relying on traditional markets such as the US and European Union to recover when stimulus and growth now lies in the emerging markets, particularly China, India, Indonesia and other parts of Asia. 

James predicted that China’s continuing growth may usher in a second phase in mining growth but inevitably the new driver of the Australian economy may well be in the housing sector. China is currently the largest source of tourism for Queensland and the Chinese have been investing in Australian property in recent years as well as in agriculture and mining. 

The housing sector is also improving in Western Australia on the back of mining sector consolidation and South Australia is now embarking on a new wave of infrastructure spending. Commercial construction, by comparison, has already peaked and while there is still the potential for growth, construction companies will have to work smarter to earn contracts. Residential construction will be more important.

Other speakers on the first morning included Gavin Hartley, the past president of the Institute of Quarrying New Zealand, and Mike Cooper, the recipient of the 2012 Hap Seng Award. Hartley presented a case study on how eight quarries near Dunedin, on the South Island, contributed to the construction of a new correctional facility to house 1600 inmates. 

Cooper provided background information on Hap Seng’s involvement in the building materials, property development and plantations industries in Malaysia and an outline of his subsequent study tour of its quarry operations in October 2012.

The afternoon sessions were dedicated to a panel session on employee engagement and individual presentations on fleet management and performance, new innovations and technologies in quarrying and the safety management of contractors. In the panel session, Dominic Thurbon, from recruitment consultancy ChangeLabs, provided an energetic presentation about engaging younger workers while Leanne Parker, of Hanson Australia, explained how the IQA’s Quarry Management Certification System can play an integral role in the retention of older workers. 

CommSec’s Craig James emphasised that businesses  have to change their mindset on the economy. Photo by Damian Christie.
CommSec’s Craig James emphasised that businesses have to change their mindset on the economy. Photo by Damian Christie.
The outgoing and incoming presidents – Wayne Scott (left) and John Stanton (right) – with their first ladies.
The outgoing and incoming presidents – Wayne Scott (left) and John Stanton (right) – with their first ladies.
George Kamikawa and Noriko Tandano provide an eclectic blend of American country and Japanese music at the Komatsu Dinner.
George Kamikawa and Noriko Tandano provide an eclectic blend of American country and Japanese music at the Komatsu Dinner.
Louise Houlihan, from Cornwall Stodart, discussed how employers should manage underperforming employees and establish a performance management system within the organisation that protects it from litigation. 

Robert Caprile, from Babcock, presented on fleet performance optimisation and the benefits of reducing whole life costs through chartering plant and equipment. Professor Eric Goh, from the University of Science Malaysia and the Institute of Quarrying Malaysia, brought out his crystal ball to outline how technology in the quarrying industry – from electronic detonators to GPS telemetrics monitoring to nanotechnology applications – is evolving and where it is likely to take the industry in the next few decades. 

Mark Parcell, from the Mines Safety Institute of Australia, bookended the day with a presentation on contractor safety, emphasising that operators should pay as much attention to the protection and health of contract workers as they do to their full-time personnel.

SUPPLIERS “WALK THE TALK”
The Komatsu Dinner is traditionally held on the second night of the conference and this year was hosted in the outdoor pavilion of Jupiters Townsville. The entertainment for the evening was a country music act with a twist – Melbourne-based, Japanese-born performers George Kamikawa and Noriko Tadano provided an eclectic blend of American country and Japanese music, respectively with a guitar, a harmonica and a stomp box and a three-stringed Japanese shamisen. Delegates gladly joined George in a toast every time he screamed out “Sake! Sake! Sake!”

The conference resumed on the morning of 20 September, with presentations from industry suppliers on mobile crushing and screening and mobile equipment innovation, including Lincom/Powerscreen, Precisionscreen, Caterpillar, Hitachi, Komatsu and Volvo. 

This was a precursor to the afternoon visit to Hanson’s Bohle Quarry, where the suppliers “walked the talk” and provided the delegates with working demonstrations of their equipment in an in-pit set-up. The units and vehicles on display included three mobile jaw crushers (including an Atlas Copco Powercrusher PC6, a Powerscreen XA400S and a Sandvik UJ440i), a Powerscreen Warrior 1800 tracked screen, a Precisionscreen RTS80 radial stacker, three excavators (a Hitachi ZX350LC-4 with an Atlas Copco HB2500 breaker, a Hitachi ZX670LCH-3 and a Caterpillar 385C) and two wheel loaders (a John Deere 844K-II and a Caterpillar 980K). 

A static display of other vehicles could also be inspected by delegates, including a Caterpillar 772 dump truck, a Hyundai HL770-9 wheel loader, a Maxam emulsions truck, a Bell B30E articulated hauler and a Komatsu PC200 excavator adorned in artwork by the late, great Pro Hart. The 20-tonner was originally painted by Pro Hart in support of programs developed by the Beacon Foundation to combat youth unemployment.

The quarry visit also marked the official launch of Caterpillar’s MD5150 track drill in Australia. The 20-tonne drill rig features a carousel rod changer with a hole diameter range of 88.9-152.4mm and hole depth of 31m. It is powered by a Cat C1 Tier 3 engine (287kW@1800rpm).

The feedback from suppliers and delegates has indicated that the working demonstration at Bohle Quarry was a great success. It is likely that the IQA will continue with similar demonstrations at future conferences.

GALA NIGHT, AWARDS AND AUCTIONS
Delegates dressed in their finery for the Caterpillar Gala Dinner later that evening in the Grand Ballroom at Jupiters Townsvile. Alexander Robinson, the quarry industry representative for Caterpillar Global Construction & Infrastructure, proudly presented the Caterpillar Continuous Improvement Award, which included $5000 for a study tour, to Brad Doyle of Boral Construction Materials. The award acknowledges the best individual contribution to continuously improving an Australian extractive business.

The dinner also marked Wayne Scott’s final function as IQA President after two years. He formally handed over the chains of office to long time Tasmanian branch secretary and Board member John Stanton who is the IQA’s 24th president since its inception in 1948.

The final day of the conference – Saturday 21 September – began with keynote presentations by two motivators. The first was marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey who holds 11 world records in open water swimming, including the longest solo unassisted swim. The second was writer and comedian James O’Loughlin, best known as the host of ABC TV’s New Inventors. 

O’Loughlin provided an entertaining presentation about innovation, emphasising that you do not have to be especially creative or hyper-intelligent to be inventive but you should be a thinker and often it is not so much a case of problem solving as rethinking your approach to a specific problem. He argued that innovation is about reviewing and improving upon every part of one’s business, systems and processes and customer relations. 

He recommended the best way to encourage innovation in an organisational culture is to make it a core business and for managers to encourage their employees to submit ideas at set times. Even if the ideas are not especially good, O’Loughlin suggested, managers should thank employees for their contributions and continue to encourage lateral thinking.

O’Loughlin was also the MC for the AIQEF lunch and auction, which officially closed the conference. Delegates were encouraged to bid for 26 items on the day which included accommodation packages, two Santini replica jerseys (one of which was signed by cyclist Robbie McEwan), a Vera May leather handbag, a motorcycle helmet signed by Casey Stoner, a collage of photos signed by NRL footballer Jonathan Thurston, a 16-gigabyte iPad Mini, a limited edition print of the Pro Hart excavator signed by the late artist and an original Aboriginal mural. 

More industry-specific lots included drill consumables, a fully dressed rotor for a Barmac crusher, a remote control quadcopter with video recording capacity, three John Deere University short courses, complimentary consultancy work by Duke Consulting and individual PDP and ePDP registrations. In all, the AIQEF successfully raised $31,445 and is extremely grateful to donors and bidders alike for their support and enthusiasm.

The IQA presented seven industry sponsored awards, three individual awards and two exhibitors’ awards over the three and a half days. The recipients of the awards were:
  • IQA Service Award (for individuals’ outstanding service to the IQA and the industry) – Greg Goodsir, AIQEF chairman and IQA past president, NSW, and Ian Collins, Williams Adams, Victoria.
  • Rocktec Innovation Award (best individual contribution for excellence and innovation in the quarry industry) – Gavin Markwell, Markwell Group, Townsville, Queensland.
  • Volvo Travel Award (for an individual’s contribution towards the advancement of environmental management in the industry) – John Sherburd, Hazell Bros, Tasmania.
  • Hyundai Award (for best technical paper presented at an IQA function, conference or printed in Quarry) – Chris Prowse, CK Prowse & Associates, Victoria.
  • ESCO Young Members Award (for a young IQA member’s contribution to the extractive industry and the IQA) – Craig Potts, Boral Peppertree, NSW.
  • The Loadrite Lean Processes Award (for the best individual demonstration of lean principles in an aggregates extraction business) – Alan Seidenkamp, Boral, West Burleigh, Queensland.
  • The Hap Seng Fellowship Award (for the individual most recognised for information and leadership exchange with the Malaysian quarry industry) – Carlson Daniels, Rocla, Western Australia.
  • The Alex Northover Award (the best portfolio of evidence submitted to a registered training organisation) – Todd Kalajzich, Boral, Dunmore, NSW.
  • Hitachi Gold Hard Hat Award – Richard Tomkins, Boral, Seaham, NSW.
  • Caterpillar Continuous Improvement Award – Brad Doyle, Boral,Grafton, NSW.
  • Ron Parrott Award (for the best conference exhibits) – Metso (large) and Rocktec (small).

BRISBANE IN 2014
The IQA’s 57th annual conference will again be in Queensland in 2014 – in conjunction with Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre from 3 to 6 September, 2014. The theme for CMIC14 will be Building Productivity.

Copies of the speaker’s presentations from the Townsville conference are available at the IQA website

With thanks to Through The Looking Glass Studio for photography (unless otherwise captioned).










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