Q&M Dec-Jan 2015

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NEW ZEALAND QUARRYING & MINING Volume 11 - No 6 | December - January 2015 | $8.95


Hyundai debuted its largest excavator yet, the R1200-9, at ConExpo this year, and now Stevensons is using one at its Drury Quarry

CATCHING UP WITH PAUL TIDMARSH The industry veteran has got into unique minerals – big time

PIKE RIVER – THE FINAL CHAPTER Reviewing the decision to leave the fatal mine sealed

QUARRY MANAGEMENT REGULATION Will the new requirements be too onerous for small quarries?


NEW ZEALAND QUARRYING & MINING Volume 11 - No 6 | December - January 2015 | $8.95



4 Editorial 6-11 News, views, comments, and reports from across the quarrying and mining sectors FEATURES

14 Quarrying – A nifty new plant 18 Profile – Catching up with Paul Tidmarsh 22 Mining – Nautilus Minerals goes deep 26 Mining – Bathurst’s picking up production 27 Mining – OceanaGold plans beyond 2015 28 Quarrying consents – Is 15 years enough? 30 Mining – Pike River, the final chapter 32 Wheels in the workplace – Foton Tunland 2.8L Dual Cab 34 Health & Safety – Quarry manager requirements 38 Politics – Local councils want royalty share ON THE COVER

12 Hyundai prime mover largest yet, at Stevensons Drury Quarry

22 27


36 Innovations 36 Advertisers’ Index ON THE COVER: At ConExpo-Con/Agg in Las Vegas this year Hyundai debuted the R1200-9 – its largest excavator yet. Stevensons has been using one as its prime mover at its Drury Quarry since October. See story page 12

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Q&M covers news, views and trends from the extractive industries, along with features on projects and people in the industry. www.contrafed.co.nz PUBLISHER

Contrafed Publishing Co Ltd Suite 2.1, 93 Dominion Road, Mt Eden 1024 PO Box 112357, Penrose, Auckland 1642 Phone: 09 636 5715 Fax: 09 636 5716 EDITOR

Another telling year

Alan Titchall DDI: 09 636 5712 Mobile: 027 405 0338 Email: alan@contrafed.co.nz

There’s a tangible unease among industry observers over the new health and safety regime, which some say could end up onerous, if not unworkable. Following the Pike River debacle we have gone from a laissez faire government approach that was nurtured during the 1990s to a tight regime of workplace regulation, and you can be forgiven for thinking looming new ‘requirements’ (see an example on page 34) for operating a quarry could become too onerous for anyone but the big boys. This industry is made up of lots of small, part time quarry operations and contractors with mobile plant. Older readers might have observed a general culture change over the past two decades that has taken the focus from individual responsibility to putting the wider community in charge. If we take alcohol, for instance, there was a time when you could be arrested and charged for under-aged drinking and that prosecution went on your record. After all – you made the decision to go outside the law. Now the ‘supplier’ and venue owner is charged. In other words – the community is held responsible for individual actions with the focus on liability and punitive fines. I have pointed this out before, that while we have a growing obsession with workplace H&S (with punitive fines and exemplary damages in the face of our ‘no blame’ compulsory ACC accident insurance), we also have a comparatively fatalistic approach to H&S outside of the workplace. How often do you hear the expression in this country to describe some hapless victim being, ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’? Try putting that on your workplace accident report. While I am having a good whinge I may as well throw the country’s ‘avatar-esque’ fixation with the ‘environment’ as if the word was invented yesterday. This country probably has the most ‘affected’ biodiversity of any environment on the planet. Even the grass and worms that are the foundation of our agricultural economy (and which makes us look so ‘green’ for tourists) were imported. It must have been quite a place when giant moa roamed the plains and the bird life sang in deafening chorus from the dense forest. It has gone – get over it. We only need common sense when it comes to sustaining a clean, unpolluted environment, not an embracement of animism. Finally, on a brighter note, I will leave you with this message that I found on the Stevenson Resources’ website: “Did you know – aggregates are the resource most widely consumed by mankind, second only to water?” I didn’t actually, but it doesn’t surprise me. Season wishes to you all, and keep digging for a better future.


Alan Titchall, Editor

Extractive Industries Training Organisation www.mito.org.nz

Kevin Lawrence DDI: 09 636 5710 Mobile: 021 512 800 Email: kevin@contrafed.co.nz ADVERTISING

Charles Fairbairn DDI: 09 636 5724 Mobile: 021411 890 Email: charles@contrafed.co.nz REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS

Hugh de Lacy, Lindsay Clark, and Gavin Riley ADMINISTRATION/SUBSCRIPTIONS

Email: admin@contrafed.co.nz DDI: 09 636 5715 PRODUCTION

Design: Tracey Asher, TMA Design Printing: PMP MAXUM Contributions welcomed. Please contact the editor before sending them in. Articles in NZ Quarrying & Mining are copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission of the publisher. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the shareholding organisations or the publisher.

VISIT THESE WEBSITES Aggregate & Quarry Association www.quarrying.org.nz Institute of Quarrying (NZ) Inc www.ioqnz.co.nz New Zealand Minerals Industry Association www.straterra.co.nz

Civil Contractors NZ www.civilcontractors.co.nz NZ Ready Mixed Concrete Association www.nzrmca.org.nz Connexis www.connexis.org.nz ISSN 0110-1382

4 December - January 2015 Q&M


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Second subsea mining project waits a decision Back in September the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) began six weeks of hearings on Chatham Rock

Aussie IHSR For the first time in 22 years miners have a workerelected check inspector on the job with the appointment of Industry Health and Safety Representative (IHSR) Stephen Woods. The IHSR role was created by legislation following the

Phosphate’s (CRP) application to mine 5000 square kilo-

Pike River disaster and Royal Commission and the inspector

metres of the seabed on the Chatham Rise, in the waters

is empowered to independently inspect mines and stop work

off the east coast.

if there is a risk of serious harm.

CRP plans to mine phosphate nodules, initially within

“Stephen brings a huge depth of experience from his

an 820 square kilometre area for which it has a mining

work in Queensland mining,” says Ged O’Connell, the

permit, and sought a marine consent from the EPA in

assistant national secretary for the Engineering, Printing and

relation to the wider area (5207 square kilometres) to

Manufacturing Union.

mine phosphates 500 metres deep on the Chatham Rise, between Banks Peninsula and the Chatham Islands. The miner proposes to mine at least 30 square

“Because of the deregulation of the mining industry, we don’t have people in New Zealand with the skills and training to do the job yet.”

kilometres of seabed a year to meet its annual minimum production target of 1.5 million tonnes of phosphate nodules. Environment groups the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), Greenpeace New Zealand and Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) joined forces for the hearings to oppose the application, arguing that the area is home to a wide range of sea life, including ancient corals and rare deep sea species, as well as a feeding ground for whales. Back in June 2014 the EPA Decision-making Committee refused an ironsands seabed mining application by TransTasman Resources, which has appealed the decision. The Committee is expected to make its decision on the CRP request this month (December), within 20 working days after the close of the hearing late last month. This decision can be appealed to the High Court on points of law only. Meanwhile, in other energy sectors the relatively new EPA is getting a reputation for being pedantic. At the 2014 NZ Petroleum Summit held in Auckland, Octanex director and lawyer, James Willis, talked about the “rise and rise of regulatory green tape” coming out of Wellington these days. Providing an example, he said Maari oil field operator, and Austrian oil giant, OMV endured “a tortuous path” with a $3 million environmental assessment application to the Environmental Protection Authority to drill the Whio-1 exploration well last summer. The EPA had been “astonishingly pedantic” with its requirements and demanded independent reports on the likely impact on sea birds of an offshore exploration rig operating in the area and its impact on marine reptiles, such as sea snakes and crocodiles, even though they don’t habitat the waters around Taranaki. Ubiquitous Marine bristle worms also came under scrutiny, which Willis compared to having to assess the impact on earthworms, slugs and slaters from onshore earthworks.

Pike – the potentially fatal risks Before deciding not to go back into the Pike River Mine, Solid Energy’s work to review the potentially fatal risks in re-entering the main drift at Pike River highlighted a number of interconnected issues. “Public discussion about this project seems to be looking for a single issue, something which might explain why Solid Energy has taken this time to decide if the remaining work can be done safely,” says chief executive Dan Clifford. “In fact, there are a number of elements which, together, make undertaking the job safely much more complex, and it is well known that complex projects – where you need everything to work as planned – are inherently more risky than straightforward ones.” Clifford says the “single entry issue” – having no alternative way out if the drift becomes blocked by, for instance, the roof falling in or machinery catching fire – is one such factor. “I’ve heard people say that this is just a big tunnel built in strong rock so there’s little chance of anything going wrong there. That is simply not correct. We know that the roof has already fallen at the top end and we suspect there has been a more recent fall further out. We know that it has been subject to enormous stress, with four explosions. We know that in the last 300 metres it is not strong rock. It passes through a major geological fault where all the surrounding material is fractured. We know that the type of rock changes to sandstone in places and the drift passes through a coal seam. You look at all that, and it would be just foolhardy to say this is a simple rock tunnel.” More on Solid Energy’s decision on page 30.

6 December - January 2015 Q&M

Buying a shrine Did Solid Energy have any intention to re-enter the drift at Pike River Mine, since its explantion for not going in, after an extensive period of “evaluation”, is fairly obvious – the damaged roof could collapse behind the rescuers and trap them (see page 30). And if it is prepared to give it up as shrine in a national park, did it ever intend to mine the coal?

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Hillhead dates 2016 The organisers of the Hillhead Quarry Exhibition say the 17th edition of the biennial showcase event for the minerals and construction industries will take place from 28–30 June 2016 at Lafarge Tarmac’s, Hillhead Quarry, near Buxton, Derbyshire, England. More info: www.hillhead.com.

Cape Town beckons Mining Indaba is to take place 9-12 February, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. Every February the four-day conference attracts over 7000 delegates, making it the world’s largest mining investment conference and Africa’s largest mining event. More than 45 government delegations, investors, analysts, and financiers from across the globe, business leaders and regulators from more than 110 countries attend the event each year, as well as representatives from over 2300 international companies.

Talisman finally a producer The Talisman Mine sold its first precious metal after 50 tonnes of ore revealed 64.5 ounces of gold and 227.3 ounces of silver at a recovered grade of 42.56g/t and 150.01g/t respectively. The sale generated revenues of about $100,000 and represents a major milestone for the company on its long journey from explorer to producer. “This is the first production of commercial gold from the historical Talisman mine site in over 30 years and represents a significant milestone for the company,” iterates CEO Matthew Hill.

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Making size and gender count Jess Woollam is proof that size and gender don’t need to be a barrier when it comes to industries dominated by blokes. Jess has completed her training as an electricity supply line mechanic and is employed by Electrix in Auckland, and is one of the few women to be working in what has previously been seen as a job for men only. Following what Jess described as a ‘thoroughly enjoyable’ pre-selection course, she was offered a trainee position with Electrix and now two years later she’s a fully qualified member of one of their fault crews. Jess came into the electricity supply industry after the job was suggested to her by her stepfather who works as a substation technician. At the time Jess was looking after her young son and doing study by correspondence. Jess’s diminutive size (1.62 metres) might have been a disadvantage in what can sometimes be a job that is quite physical in nature. “I am quite small but my approach is to find a way that suits me for the more physical aspects of the job. A lot of it is about technique. I’ve also found that sometimes being smaller than everyone else can be an advantage. I can squeeze into the tight little spots that others can’t.” The 24-year-old very much enjoys the working together team environment and feels as though the guys welcome and respect her contribution. Industry Training Organisation, Connexis (the infrastructure ITO) has developed the Ultimit programme to encourage more women into the electricity supply industry. More information is available at www.connexis.org.nz and www.ultimit.co.nz

GNS Science to assist explorers GNS Science, a Crown Research Institute, received $6 million from

The four-year project, led by GNS Science, was awarded funding

the Government in the last round of state funding for science. It

of $500,000-a-year in the latest MBIE funding round, announced by

is one of 13 research organisations to benefit from $139 million

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce. The project will bring

investment funding by the Government.

together about six decades of existing information, augmented by

Both OceanaGold and Newmont Waihi, our largest gold producers, have supported GNS Science’s $4 million upgrade of current data on prospective gold deposits. While GNS does not

new data, on potential subsurface habitats where petroleum is likely to have accumulated. Project leader and petroleum geologist Kyle Bland, of GNS

have current plans to undertake fresh aeromagnetic surveys, it will

Science, says most of New Zealand’s sedimentary basins were

be using the Antipodes Gold survey that carefully surveyed a large

largely unexplored for petroleum and a large discovery anywhere

section of the Otago Region, especially Central Otago.

would dramatically improve our economic fortunes. “The full extent

This upgrade will initially concentrate on three known gold-bearing

of our natural petroleum endowment is unknown. It resides deep

mineral systems at Waihi, Macraes in East Otago and Sam’s Creek,

below the surface and finding it is complex, expensive, and time

which is near the city of Nelson.

consuming,” says Bland.

GNS geologists also plan to produce a series of freely available

The project’s main output will be workstation-ready digital

digital maps and a comprehensive database over the next four

atlases made up of multiple layers of information such as sediment

years to help exploration companies pinpoint prospective areas to

thickness, reservoir architecture, and source rock distribution in

explore for oil and gas in our offshore territory.

Geographic Information System format. Project milestones will be

The result will be an extensive body of information showing the current geological understanding of New Zealand’s 18 mostly offshore petroleum basins. It will be the first time that such a wealth

released in stages through delivery tools such as GNS Science’s Petroleum Basin Explorer web portal and as data packs. Bland anticipates that, as a result of the new information,

of knowledge has been available in a standardised format in one

exploration activity would increase in New Zealand, and that the


chances of a major discovery would also rise. By Peter Owens.

8 December - January 2015 Q&M

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New Zealand Mining Board of Examiners appointed A highly experienced group of extractives industry practitioners has been appointed to set and assess competency standards of those working in safety-critical roles within the extractives industry. WorkSafe NZ Board chair, Professor Gregor Coster said new mining health and safety regulations and amendments to the Health and Safety in Employment

MEI 2014 award beckons Nominations for the Minerals Engineering International (MEI) Award 2014 are open to applicants from anywhere in the world. The award is given for an outstanding contribution to minerals engineering by a young person (under 35 years of age by December 31, 2014) and should be submitted to bwills@min-eng.com by February 6, 2015. The name of the recipient will be announced at the end of that month. More information: www.min-eng.com.

Act came into force in December last year including a requirement for WorkSafe to establish the New Zealand Mining Board of Examiners. “The New Zealand Mining Board of Examiners will advise the Board of WorkSafe on the health and safety competency requirements for workers in the extractives industry – a key recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Pike River tragedy,” Professor Coster said. The Board of Examiners will also examine applicants for certificates of competency and issue, renew, and suspend certificates of competency. It has additional responsibilities to ensure training and continuing professional development programmes are fit-for-purpose. The New Zealand Mining Board of Examiners will work closely with its Australian counterparts to ensure equivalent standards in both countries. The Board of Examiners will be chaired by WorkSafe’s chief inspector, extractives Tony Forster. Working with Forster will be 12 other industry experts

Fatal tyre explosion An Aussie coroner urged the mining industry to use wireless sensing equipment for tyre pressure after the death of a miner a few years ago at a Queensland mine. The fatal accident involved 53-year-old worker who was killed at Foxleigh mine, owned and managed by Anglo American, while he was changing a tyre on a trailer that was connected to a prime mover. A coronial inquest reported that his death was caused by a “zipper failure”, and the resulting exploding tyre that caused a catastrophic percussive shockwave of air to strike the worker while he was on his back in the confined space between the sets of the trailer’s wheels. The coroner called for the use of remote pressure tyre monitoring systems and a trolley jack with an extended handle to prevent getting too close to hi-pressured tyres. It was also noted that Australia has no standard applicable to wheels and tyres of larger diameters, particularly those of up to 24 inches.

including operators, trainers, academics and union representatives. “The establishment of the Board of Examiners is an important step in the extractives industry’s development

More tough lessons from Aussie

and it will ensure New Zealand is matching international

From the H&S disaster files comes this report from Queensland

best practice in competency development, management

when a truck load of ammonium nitrate exploded and created

and oversight,” Coster said.


The Board members are: • Tony Forster (chair) chief inspector, extractives, WorkSafe • Stephen Bell, Solid Energy • Michelle Crompton, MITO • Andrew Dallas, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Australia (representing the EPMU) • Steven Ellis, Stevenson Resources

A road train carrying 44, 1.2 tonne bags of ammonium nitrate manufactured for explosives use in a remote area of Queensland left the road and ended up in a dry creek bed adjacent to a road bridge and in close proximity to a rail bridge. A small explosion occurred while the responding police and fire crews were tending to the injured driver and they, and witnesses, retreated to a safer area from the burning vehicle. It was not far enough and a second, very large explosion injured

• Andy Loader, First Rock Consultancy

everyone at the scene, most of them seriously. The road train, two

• Bernie O’Leary, OceanaGold

fire trucks and road bridge were destroyed, the rail bridge sustained

• Marianne Rogers, Felix Services

major structural damage, and the police car was significantly

• Dr John St George, Department of Civil and


Environmental Engineering, University of Auckland

Transport authorities, understandably, are urging that any one

• Iain Simmonds, McConnell Dowell

involved with the transport of ammonium nitrate ensures vehicle

• Craig Smith, mining consultant

maintenance is up to standard and drivers are trained, have

• David Stewart, MinServe International

appropriate experience and procedures are in place to ensure they

• Dean Torstonson, Orica Mining

are fit for work.

10 December - January 2015 Q&M


A familiar lesson from Turkey A scathing official report into the Soma mining disaster in

been copied and pasted from the week before. Inspectors

Turkey in May, when 301 miners were killed, has revealed a

counted a total of 48 gas and 19 carbon-monoxide sensors but

catalogue of negligent practices and a complete disregard

many were broken and there was no proper calibration. Even

for worker safety.

those in use were not properly calibrated to measure gas levels.

The 126-page report, commissioned by the Turkish public prosecutor, reveals that warning sensors were ignored, safety reports fabricated and ventilation systems were faulty. While eight high-level managers of the mine’s operating

According to the autopsy reports, 85 percent of the deaths were from carbon-monoxide poisoning. Crucially, the ventilation system was not adequate to meet the rapid expansion of the mine in recent years and had not been

company have already been arrested in connection with the

adapted accordingly, and the report blames poor ventilation

tragedy, the report points the finger of blame at almost everyone

for actually accelerating the loss of life, as it was unable to

involved in the mine, including ministry bureaucrats, with the

reverse the flow of carbon monoxide underground creating death

exception of the miners themselves. “The only innocent group is

chambers for the miners.

the workers,” says the report. The Soma mine is owned by a state-owned company, Turkish Coal Enterprises (TKI), and operated by a private company.

Leading up to the disaster was a pattern of highly intensive mining and production levels that were 2.5 times more than was planned.

Inspectors were able to capture data from the alert and security

“We are of the opinion that this data confirms the claims or

systems at the mine during the three months before the tragedy

allegations of the workers of highly intensified workload and the

on May 13 this year. The report shows that despite fluctuating

production pressures,” says the report.

carbon-monoxide readings and excessively high temperatures prior to the accident, miners continued to work. Alarmingly, inspectors also found that most safety records

An additional report into the Soma disaster by the Turkish association of chambers of engineers and architects says, “The reason for the carnage is privatization, marketisation and the

were not consistent with the readings from sensors. They had

outsourcing policies over the past 12 years in the mining sector

been regularly fabricated. In some cases, safety records had

and also in the area of health and safety.”


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12 December - January 2015 Q&M

At ConExpo-Con/Agg in Las Vegas this year Hyundai debuted the R1200-9 – its largest excavator yet. Stevensons has been using one as its prime mover at its Drury Quarry since October.


eighing in at almost 120 tonnes and digging at the greywacke with a 740-horsepower (552kW) Cummins QSK23-C engine and a bucket digging force of 115,080 kilograms, the big yellow Hyundai R1200-9 excavator makes light work of the quarry’s greywacke resource. The line up of dump trucks barely keep up with its loading. The largest of the Hyundai excavators, and purposely designed for the quarrying and mining market, Stevensons bought the machine from the Porter Group as its primary digger for the Drury Quarry’s primary plant. At any one time it is loading up to three, 50 tonne dump trucks, depending on the length of the haulage from the pit to the crusher. Steve Ellis, minerals executive, Stevenson Group (with overall responsibility for Stevenson’s quarry interests) is not one to praise lightly, but says he’s very happy with the company’s new machine, which replaced a competitive model. “It is going very well and has proved very economical. The quarry resource is greywacke so it is being used in economy mode most of the time and averaging about 65 litres an hour.” Being a very modern machine sporting the latest technology, Steve adds that the operators like using it and have commented on its ‘smoothness’. This is not surprising since Hyundai says the R1200-9 features a redesigned hydraulic system that provides the operator with “super fine touch” and controllability, while improved pump flow minimises fuel consumption. Fine-touch pilot controls and enhanced travel functions make for smooth and easy operation, says Hyundai, with improved arm-in and boom-down flow regeneration and control valve technology through an innovative auto boom-swing priority function. This has not compromised toughness says the manufacturer, as this machine has been purposely designed for heavy extraction in mines and quarries, and its undercarriage is equipped with covers to protect the travel motors and hoses against damage. For improved operator comfort the newly designed cab has more space and a wider field of view and operator comfort, with plenty of visibility on the machine surroundings and the job at hand. For instance, the front window seam has been reduced, there’s a single piece of glass on the right side, and a glass sunroof. A 7-inch LCD display allows the operator to customise their operating preferences with three power modes and two work modes. This display monitor also features a rear-view camera and machine data with improved self-diagnostic including GPS download capability for remote management and service (Hyundai’s Hi-mate remote system).

A two-piece deal The R1200-9 sale also involved a new Hyundai R480LC-9 excavator to work the face at Stevenson’s Huntly Quarry. This smaller machine, which arrives this month (December) replaced a Hyundai R500-7 that has been working at the quarry since 2007 and has done over 11,000 hours. “When they proposed the opportunity for equipment supply our approach was a ‘value proposition’ based on Stevenson’s business

“The newly designed cab has more space and a wider field of view and operator comfort, with plenty of visibility on the machine surroundings.”

requirements for both quarries, rather than just on a specific model enquiry,” says Matthew White, the business development manager for Porter Equipment. Working at the face, the 49.5 tonne R480LC-9 has an advantage over machines of 50 tonne and more in that it features an integrated cab with an interlocking roll-over protective structure (ROPS) that is certifiable at this weight. “Aftermarket ROP frames cost between $15,000 and $20,000 each on top of the price of the base unit so it represented a good saving,” says Matthew. “It also eliminates any extra load on the machine body that can change the geometry and load centre of the machine when you add a big external frame over the cabin.”

Family companies Steve Ellis points to the fact that both Stevensons and Porters are private, family companies. “It is always good dealing with a business of a similar culture, and they were keen to set up, and work hard towards, a relationship with us,” he says. “Based in Hamilton they are also just an hour away from us at Drury for service and back up.” It is a point appreciated by both parties. Says Matt, “Yes, we struck up a fantastic customer relation, and we regard Stevensons as friends as much as a customer.” And like all family relationships it wasn’t all plain sailing. “Steve and I had a few face offs and neither of us backed down, which only made the relationship stronger. “To be honest, we have had a hell a lot of fun and brought some old fashioned industry integrity back onto the table building up this business relationship, and I hope Stevenson has enjoyed that as much as we have.” • Q&M December - January 2015 13


14 December - January 2015 Q&M

A nifty new plant Stevensons’ Drury Quarry is one of the largest and most technically advanced in the country and amongst the biggest producers of aggregate in the Auckland region, supplying over a quarter of its needs.


ith over 100 years of quarry rock reserves, Stevensons’ Drury Quarry is well placed geographically to supply major new infrastructure projects and urban development in the Auckland and Waikato regions. In terms of servicing, its pugmill and IANZ certified laboratory has set it apart from other quarries in the region for some time. Now the quarry has commissioned a $7 million aggregate processing plant with a Kiwi-made vertical shaft impact crusher at its core. We featured the all new VSI crusher, designed and made by Rocktec in Matamata, in the last issue of Q&M (October/November 2014) when

members of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty IOQ held their AGM at Rocktec and got the first view of the machine (pictured) painted up in blue and white corporate brand colours. While Rocktec designed and built the exterior, the guts is made up of standard OEM and alternative rotors and shaft line assemblies that are interchangeable with existing manufacturers, including Metso distributed in New Zealand by Mimico. The installed power is 300kW from two WEG 150kW motors. Features include an air transfer system to control dust. “We are very happy with the finished result,” says Rocktec’s sales and marketing manager Jason Tapper. “This prototype has been built on known parameters and we had no issues whatsoever with the commissioning – everything with the first inspection was as predicted.”

Q&M December - January 2015 15


Quarry manager Shane Toto at the small control box of the automated new plant that replaces the traditional row of buttons.

Unique technical details include good rotor access through large gull-wing top hatches and an interlocking chamber door. “The improved rotor access has proven very successful.” These machines are now being built to order and customised to suit specific customer applications or specifications, with four more quotes out in the quarry community.

Built to take a beating The finished 200 tonne an hour plant is fully automated. As Steve Ellis, minerals executive, Stevenson Group says; “You can start it up in the morning and leave it alone all day.” The system is run by a programmable logic controller (PLC) with all the latest automated software including emergency stops to criteria four and an electronic weigh scale that talks to the feeder. The total system is made up of a 25 tonne hopper feeding the Rocktec VSI crusher, a Rocktec Avalanche 20x8 screen taking out a DAP product and then oversize travels direct from the screen 16 December - January 2015 Q&M

to crusher. Graded chip is shot over to the last two screens for washing aggregate similar to 7 chip. They are both also Rocktec made screens. Civil design is by Gia Ka-Ching Chung; foundation construction by Primer Construction; and site works by local contractor Adrian Tizard. Steve says a lot of future proofing has gone into the set up. “This time we have galvanised all the catwalks and platforms to avoid rust in the long term, and the infrastructure is fully guarded to the latest specs.” The company has also spent hundred of thousands of dollars on new guards on other machinery in the quarry. “Since 2003 the regulations have changed and we are spending a lot of money upgrading plant and equipment based on pending changes next year.” Even the bins have been given special long-term treatment. “The concrete bin walls are extra strong and tapered and steel rails are cemented into floors to take loader bucket wear and avoid blow-out.” Q&M

Q&M December - January 2015 17


Industry veteran Paul Tidmarsh has made successful businesses out of engineering in the past and is best known for his association with the Barmac crusher, founding Rocktec in Matamata and the development of an iconic dairy farm in the Hinuera Vally near Matamata. He now is the major shareholder in Blue Pacific Minerals, exporting two industrial minerals unique to the volcanic plateau – zeolite and perlite.

18 December - January 2015 Q&M

Catching up with

Paul Tidmarsh This industry veteran has a remarkable knack of turning challenging opportunities and other folk’s cast-offs into great businesses and this time he’s processing unique minerals – big time.


n past issues of Q&M we have covered Paul Tidmarsh’s early business career years with his company Tidco and the manufacturing of the original Barmac crusher (before it was sold to Svedala in 1989), and then his engineering years in Matamata with Rocktec, which he sold to the Stevenson Group in 2006. We caught up with Paul again as he was building one of the biggest industrial process and storage facilities in Tokoroa since the original Kinleith Mill was built in the early 1950s. Although he lives in Tauranga, Paul has centred his business, Blue Pacific Minerals, in the small Waikato settlement because it is close to his two mines and the township has an extraordinary supply of natural gas and electricity to service the timber mill. The company needs plenty of heat to dry its valuable resources – zeolite and perlite. We are saving some of this story for our next issue, because the road to Tokoroa and the production of industrial minerals has been a long one for Paul, and it’s a story worth telling in detail. “The last time we interviewed you in 2007 was to cover your engineering past and you invited us back to talk about a new business you were about to rev up called Blue Pacific Minerals. How did this come about?”

Dross to zeolite “It comes back to when I sold the Tidco and the Barmac business 25 years ago and I decided to invest the money into three diverse businesses that wouldn’t demand that I be involved on a day-to-day basis. “One of these was the Rocktec engineering business, which was sold in 2006, the second venture was to buy up three adjoining beef and cropping farms and convert these into a very smart dairy farming enterprise milking 1250 cows through two cowsheds, and thirdly I also invested with a couple of guys in the scrap metal processing industry in Auckland, which ended up being the forerunner to Blue Pacific Minerals today. “When Rocktec was just in its infancy we were making gear for quarries and for processing scrap metals. These guys were trading quite well in scrap when they got into the dross business [a mass of solid impurities that forms on the surface of

low-melting-point metals such as aluminium]. “We bought the dross, or slag, from secondary smelters and set up a plant [built by Rocktec] in Waharoa, near Matamata, in 1992 under a business called Resource Refineries. Dave Hill, who joined Tidco as an engineer at 23, also became involved as a partner and we exported recycled aluminium to smelting companies in Australia, Sri Lanka and India, until the supply of the raw material here in New Zealand began to dry up. “We were going okay until the price of aluminium halved in value. “I had invested a lot of money in building the dross plant at Waharoa and we had been paying a lot of money for this dross as there was another company competing for the resource, but they went broke. With this change in circumstances I said to the manufacturers we weren’t going to pay for the dross, but if you need to get rid of it you can dump it at our factory. So, in the end, we got the resource for nothing because their only choice was to dump it. So, with no cost of goods, the company started to do okay again. But then these metal processors started closing down and the dross became scarce. “I thought, shit, this business is going to fold. We had to face reality and nothing was turning around. But we had buildings, staff, infrastructure and machinery, and equipment. This was around 1995 and I parted company with my city partners and said – I will retain the Waharoa dross plant, and you keep the original business of scrap metal. “The dross plant was sold to interests in Australia but now I had a building and not a lot of work and that’s when I thought of industrial minerals. “During the Tidco years we had a laboratory and people used to send us mineral samples to test. One of these products was zeolite, which had only recently been discovered on the Volcanic Plateau at Ohakuri by a pair of geologists. “They were processing the mineral for animal litter and other ‘absorbent’ uses, but struggled with marketing, and sold down. “In 1995 the company ended up in Fernz hands, who owned 40 percent of the Bay of Plenty Fertilizer Co (now Ballance AgriNutrients) and they set up a processing plant in Tokoroa. “When we decided to get into industrial minerals we approached them and asked if they wanted to sell out. “We struck a deal and agreed to a price, but they couldn’t get Q&M December - January 2015 19


Zeolite, a microporous solid, has strong consumer appeal as an absorbent for kitty litter, barbecue fat and oil spills and it is a vital ingredient for slow release fertilisers, animal feed additive, and a carrier for a host of added value products. The product is only as good as your imagination for what it can be used for.

With both mines in full production Tidmarsh and Hill knew they were wasting time processing the material at a modest sized plant at Tokoroa and transporting the product to Waharoa for bagging by hand. They looked at investing in a new process plant and storage. final approval because, as a public company, their board thought they might get more by putting the business up for tender. “They got 14 offers including one from us but we missed out on price but eventually ended up with the company when the successful tenders wanted out due to the fact they did not know what they were doing. “The French company they picked from among the tenders was one of the biggest end users of the finished product “They took our offer and insisted on a five-year exclusivity supply arrangement with them, which we wanted anyway; this gave us a guaranteed market for five years and they couldn’t buy off anyone else.”

Tokoroa beckons The year was 1998 and the business they ‘bought’ off the French was Tokoroa-based NZ Natural Zeolite. With a name change to Blue Pacific Minerals, Paul and Dave Hill were now in possession of a zeolite mine near Rotorua, a modest processing plant at Tokoroa, and a bagging facility at the old dross plant at Waharoa. “From the mine we could only process in dry weather and had to put enough product under cover to see us through the wet 20 December - January 2015 Q&M

months. We started out processing about 2000 tonne of zeolite a year. The original dross plant at Waharoa was set up as a bagging plant for the zeolite and we distributed from there in modest amounts. The plant we purchased could only cope with three quarters of a tonne an hour and it had employed 35 people filling bags with coal shovels – well almost. “As soon as the five-year term agreement expired we starting selling the product direct and broke into other markets such as oil spill, for which we created our own branded product. We also slowly rebuilt the bagging plant to cope with about six tonne an hour. “Zeolite is easy to crush, but hard to handle and you have to get rid of the high moisture. Back then we didn’t have enough covered storage sheds so it took a lot of gas energy to dry the material down to below 15 percent moisture using a rotary kiln that was about 100 years old.”

Mineral prospecting and perlite “After upgrading our old processing plant we ended up with spare capacity so we went looking for another mineral and found perlite [an amorphous silica], which is another commodity mineral with


about six uses around the world. “It’s a glass with water trapped inside. When heated quickly the water turns to steam and it expands like popcorn to 30 times its original size. As a lightweight aggregate it has many uses as an insulator in the gas industry, is used in foundries to mop up impurities in the melt proccess, wineries and breweries to microfilter impurities and in the building industry as a component for manmade board. “Five thousand to 6000 tonne of perlite is consumed in South Australia each year just for their wine industry. “As a global commodity perlite has to be either the best or the cheapest and luckily, we have good shipping lanes on our doorstep and, we produce among the best performing perlites in the world used in our target markets.”

Expansion at Tokoroa The zeolite comes from an opencast mine 20 kilometres south of Rotorua at Ngakuru, and the perlite comes from a mine on forestry land just south of Tokoroa. With both mines in full production Tidmarsh and Hill knew they were wasting time processing the material at a modest sized plant at Tokoroa and transporting the product to Waharoa for bagging by hand. They looked at investing in a new process plant and storage. “We looked for years and we had two important criteria: we needed a lot of gas for drying and we needed a lot of power.

“Carter Holt developed a new subdivision near its mill in Tokoroa, where we already had a processing plant, just down the road. “The eight acre site we bought had access to natural gas [going to the mill], power and had an existing building, which we have modernised and expanded. “Dave and myself along with Geoffry Tappin from my old company Rocktec designed the whole new plant. Rocktec in Matamata is making a lot of the processing gear, such as the crushers, screens and conveyors while the automated bagging equipment and kiln systems are being imported from offshore. “The original plant down the road will be tweaked to handle the perlite full time while the new plant will process and bag zeolite. We were really a zeolite company that did perlite on the side but will now process both minerals at the same time. “The whole project is being done in five stages and will cost about $10 million all up; with $3.5 million spent on a new 4500 square metre building and another $6 to $7 million on plant and new gear at the mines. “We hope to have everything up and running by May 2015. “We plan to increase production of perlite from 7000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes, and zeolite from 12,000 dry tonnes to 40,000 tonnes within two years.”

• Part two: Mining industrial minerals will be published in the February/March issue of Q&M.



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Q&M December - January 2015 21


Nautilus Minerals A breakthrough change in mining is near with the go-ahead given to build the world’s first deep ocean mining ship. BY LINDSAY CLARK.

22 December - January 2015 Q&M


he pioneering deep ocean mining company Nautilus Minerals plans to begin mining by 2017. It is chasing rich grades of copper, gold, silver and zinc from a volcanic-origin in 1600 metre-deep ocean off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Nautilus is headed by two mining entrepreneurs with strong Kiwi connections, Geoff Loudon, the chairman of the company who lives in Christchurch, and chief executive Mike Johnston, a geology graduate from the University of Canterbury. Loudon told the AusIMM New Zealand minerals conference in Hamilton recently that he was one of the three founders of Nautilus 19 years ago. Of the plan, Loudon says, “It’s the world mining industry’s most exciting and potentially biggest single game-changer.” Developing minerals underwater could also lead to changes to how we mine on land, because modern openpit mines can leave scars on the landscape sometimes occupying tens of square kilometres. Loudon says the average grade of metals found in mineral ores around the world has fallen rapidly in the past 20 years. More rock has to be dug to get the same amount of metal.

Q&M December - January 2015 23


Nautilus Minerals’ first mine, Solwara-1, lies 30 kilometres from the nearest coast, over 200 kilometres from the Papua New Guinea (PNG) mainland between two of its large offshore islands, New Ireland and New Britain.

24 December - January 2015 Q&M

“Mines can’t go on for ever getting larger and larger,” he says. Nautilus Minerals’ first mine, Solwara-1, lies 30 kilometres from the nearest coast, over 200 kilometres from the Papua New Guinea (PNG) mainland between two of its large offshore islands, New Ireland and New Britain. But the Solwara-1 deposit is tiny, only occupying 11 hectares. Yet this deposit will be able to produce 100,000 tonnes of copper per year and about 100,000 ounces of gold, plus silver and zinc. A mine on land with this production would usually cover many square kilometres. What attracted Nautilus to Solwara-1 was the very high grades. The eight percent copper grade is 10 times higher than average, while gold grades at six percent instead of the average 1.5 percent grade. Such high grades should make the project highly profitable. There is no costly overburden to remove. Ship-based mining also gives the mobility to “move a mine” to a new location. There are no

sunk costs to dig a new mine. Just pull up anchors and sail away with plant, workers and accommodation to the next location. Loudon says the ore at Solwara-1 will be worth about $1000 a tonne. Mining, smelting and processing costs will be about $700 a tonne, leaving a healthy margin of around $300 a tonne. The billion-dollar project will take about three years to pay back. Such mineral deposits are known as seafloor massive sulphides or SMS. They are only found in deep water mostly near plate boundaries where there has been volcanic activity. About 900 SMS deposits are known to occur, mainly around the Pacific Ocean’s “ring of fire”. It is believed about 6000 such deposits may occur under the sea. The deposits form from super-heated, acidic hot springs which carry metals dissolved from the earth’s crust. As soon as the hot mineralised water in the “black smoker” vents hits the cold ocean water, the metals solidify into small rocky chimneys. Beds of these collapsed black

chimneys form the SMS deposits. Nautilus has been prospecting off islands in the south-west Pacific for many years. The company holds tenement areas totalling 450,000 square kilometres in the Solomons, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and New Zealand (Nautilus has an application for a 50,000 square kilometre permit along the Kermadec Arc from the Bay of Plenty towards the Kermadec Islands). But the company is likely to focus on PNG waters over the next few years with more developed prospects there. Both Loudon and Johnston have many years of exploration experience in PNG. Nautilus is a truly international project. It is headquartered in Toronto with an operations office in Brisbane. Its biggest financial backers are Omani oilfield services billionaire Mohammed Al Barwani and Russia’s richest tycoon Alisher Usmanov’s Metalloinvest Holding, who together own 40 percent. UK-South African mining giant Anglo-American also holds a substantial stake. Nautilus will charter a specially designed mining ship to be built in China which is some 230 metres long. The ship will serve as the operational base. The ship will have a Starship Enterprise-like control room from where it will remotely operate the three huge advanced robotic mining machines on crawler tracks which will do the mining one and a half

kilometres below the ship. These Britishbuilt mining machines are together worth $100 million. The mine control ship, currently in an advanced stage of planning, will lower by cranes three huge remotely-controlled mining machines down 1600 metres to the deposit. The machines, together worth $100 million, will crush and scrape the SMS ore. The rock will be pumped as a slurry up a riser pipe onto the ship for storage. Ore freighters will pull up alongside the mine ship to load the ore destined for a metal processing plant in China. “This might sound like a science fantasy by Jules Verne,” Loudon says. But every bit of the underwater equipment is currently used by the oil and gas industry to dig trenches across the ocean bottom so pipes can be buried, he says. The mining machines and riser are more than half built, ready to be attached to the ship for lowering to the sea bottom deposit. Loudon’s reference to a Jules Verne fantasy is interesting. Nautilus is the name of the submarine which travels 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the famous French writer’s 19th century book of the same name. In the story Nautilus comes to grief on a reef off New Guinea. The modern Nautilus project is all about turning what would once have been a mining fantasy into tomorrow’s reality. Q&M

The ship will have a Starship Enterpriselike control room from where it will remotely operate the three huge advanced robotic mining machines on crawler tracks which will do the mining one and a half kilometres below the ship.

Expressions of Interest for presentations to the

47th QuarryNZ Conference Conference organisers invite expressions of interest from presenters who consider their topic would contribute to this year’s conference. The audience size is expected to be in the vicinity of 300 people. Presentations will be approximately 20 minutes.

FORGING THE PATH TO THE FUTURE Claudelands, Hamilton 15th - 17th July 2015


REQUIREMENTS Your expression of interest must be received by 1st February 2015 and should include: • Your proposed topic • A descriptive paragraph, no more than a third of the page, about the presenter. This should include information about their background, experience, qualifications, and if relevant, information about the organisation they are representing. Please email your expression of interest to Malcolm Blakey malcolm@icmpacific.com

Q&M December - January 2015 25



– picking up production Bathurst recovered its first coal at the Escarpment during September and took over as owner/operator of its largest mine, Takatimu in Western Southland. BY PETER OWENS.


ining work began at Escarpment on July 1 this year after a long and turgid battle through the courts. Fencing and first stage road works have now been completed as have preliminary water management and treatment systems. The first coal was extracted in September as part of the construction phase at the mine. This coal was moved to the Cascade Mine’s storage facility for sale in the domestic market. However, Bathurst indicates it will not move into full commercial production at Escarpment until there is a significant rise in the international price of industrial coking coal. Bathurst has also been supported enthusiastically by investors in Australia and New Zealand with strong support for its rights issue which closed in early July. During the September quarter, Bathurst achieved a total coal production of 89,113 tonnes. This is an increase of 41 percent on the same period last year. On the West Coast at the Buller field, the company operates Cascade on the Denniston Plateau near Westport. This mine has been producing high energy coal for the domestic industrial market. However, production at this mine has been reduced in response to a drop in demand. The company has introduced cost saving measures at Cascade to offset this drop, including reducing the work rosters to five days a week and rationalising

26 December - January 2015 Q&M

the equipment fleet. Bathurst has also started building a new access road at Cascade. This is in order to mine the coal which is underneath the present access road. The company was also engaged in rehabilitation planting and this continued until the last week in October. At that time 16,000 plants had been planted on the Cascade block. Bathurst’s Takatimu mine is near Nightcaps in Western Southland and coal mining has been conducted in this region for many years. This mine produces about 200,000 tonnes of sub-bituminous coal per year and it is now back to full production after the winter slowdown of the burgeoning southern dairy industry, which is a major customer. On September 15, Bathurst took over full mining services from the previous site contractor and also took over the employment contracts of all of the existing staff. A total of 52 people are now employed by Bathurst at this mine. Recently Bathurst bought an established coal mine near Coalgate, which is in West Canterbury. The company plans on producing up to 35,000 tonnes of high energy coal for the local dairy processing plants. While full mining activity at this mine has been scaled back to institute production efficiencies, this should be finished by the end of this year. While these modifications are being undertaken, Bathurst is supplying coal to local customers from its Takatimu operations.



plans new projects beyond 2015 OceanaGold is planning a new mine project at Blackwater as its Reefton mine finishes at the end of next year and its Macraes mine closes at the end of 2017. BY PETER OWENS.


ceanaGold’s Reefton open pit mine is calculated to have reserves of 1.23 million ounces of gold yet to be extracted and currently produces 90–120 ounces of gold annually. However, it is being wound down to a “care and maintenance” stage and operations are scheduled to close at the end of 2015. The company has already removed over 50 mining jobs from the Reefton mine. OceanaGold is eyeing up the potential of its Blackwater site, which is not only close to Reefton (37 kilometres) where there is a source of experienced labour, but is commercially goldbearing. Blackwater was the site of the Waiutu quartz mining operation which was closed in 1951. Coal mining has also been carried on in the region for many years. OceanaGold now has an option agreement until April 2016 to buy the land on which a conventional

underground mine is to be excavated. The company estimates the Blackwater project will have a 10-year operational life after a couple of years of pre-production work in excavating and fitting out the new mine. OceanaGold estimates that over the mine’s life, it should extract about 570,000 ounces of gold. OceanaGold plans to carry on mining at Macraes (made up of the original Macraes Open Pit and the Frasers Underground Mine) until the end of 2017. This is the largest gold extraction project in the country and it has been producing between 90,000–120,000 ounces of gold annually. The company is also looking at the possibility of mining undeveloped higher grade gold and tungsten at Round Hill, the first open cut mine at Macraes as well as deeper higher grade ore on the eastern side of the other filled-in pits around Macraes.

Q&M December - January 2015 27


IS 15 YEARS ENOUGH? A consenting standoff in the Waikato is a warning for quarry operators renewing consents – don’t automatically expect the maximum 35 years under the Resource Management Act.


oss Tucker held three consents granted by the Waikato Regional Council (WRC) in 1999 for the Aria Quarry in the Waitomo region that were due to expire this year. At the end of last year he applied to have them renewed but this time for 35 years, the maximum under the RMA. Ross was looking forward to upgrading plant and making a large investment in the quarry’s future. HA Tucker & Co has been quarrying the site for over half a century and operates on a modest scale with two employees processing greywacke for roading and other infrastructure works throughout the local district. The quarry sits on a working farm owned

28 December - January 2015 Q&M

by the Tucker family since 1986. Recent exploration drilling conservatively identified reserves in excess of 40 million tonnes of good greywacke rock, or a lifespan of over 100 years on current rates of extraction. On January 17 of this year HA Tucker & Co was granted resource consent by the WRC that is subject to about 11 operating conditions that were all acceptable. But the terms were for just 15 years – less than half of that applied for. Before investing in new equipment, Ross says he needed a longer term of tenure. He approached the WRC and was told that 15 years was the typical consent term for this type of activity compared with similar operations in its region. If this duration were extended then a more comprehensive application would be required with detailed assessments to support the extended term. Further conditions to the consent would also apply, if granted. Ross thought this was coming down too hard, considering the quarry had been operating since 1960 on the current site with no public complaints. As water (discharge) monitoring is one of the more ‘active’ consent conditions he has also built bigger settling ponds than required under his consent. On top of this, the company owns all of the land surrounding the quarry and, as the mineral resource is mostly below ground level, the operation will continue to have a minor effect on the environment and community. In addition, he argued, his operation had the support of the local community; good results from WRC compliance audits; and his nearest neighbours were at least half a kilometre from his land boundary (which is also three kilometres from the quarry). What annoyed him the most was the fact another quarry operation on the eastern boundary of HA Tucker’s land (Rorison Mineral Developments Wairere Lime Quarry) had been

recently granted resource consent for a term of 35 years. On February 10, Ross filed with the Environment Court to appeal the decision to grant a term of 15 years and a courtordered mediation meeting took place between both parties in the following month. In this meeting the council outlined its reasons why the 15 years was imposed, and made it clear it was not about past operational issues, supplying examples of other quarries of similar size working under 15-year consents. A Stevenson’s site has a 20-year consent in the region but with many more conditions imposed. Under cost constraints, Ross withdrew his court appeal and accepted the initial 15-year consent while continuing to petition the WRC for a longer term. Not long after that mediation meeting the council indicated that it would consider an extension subject to further requirements and conditions. The council then came up with a list of 53 conditions involving the likes of bonds, rehabilitation plans, discharge sampling, monitoring and reporting. Council officers have the discretion to grant any appropriate term up to the maximum 35 years. The case officer and the council’s land and soil manager, Grant Blackie, says the option of 20 years was discussed shortly after the original consent decision was appealed, but turned down by Ross. At one point in the protracted negotiations, the WRC whittled the 53 extended consent conditions down to 21, but also proposed that the ‘active’ operating area of the quarry be limited to 10 hectares. Ross dismissed this as the quarry is already at nine hectares. “I am pissed off because the WRC kept moving the goalposts,” says Ross. “It went from a matter of future land change around us (and we received 140 plus submissions of support for our quarry getting 35 years), to a lack of information in our application. “It was only through pressure of the court that the council accepted that 35 years was even achievable, but to then apply 53 conditions simply would make it uneconomic for us to operate. “Then after a complaint to the WRC CEO and councillors it was agreed that the consent would be reviewed to be more in line with the neighbour’s 35 years, and with 21 basic conditions. “However, the original conditions were simply condensed by the art of amalgamating two conditions into one to get 21.

“It’s like the council can make it up as they go along, and there is no independent body you can go to. This is why I walked out of the process and said I would take it to government. All we want is a fair deal in accordance with New Zealand law.” It has also become for Ross, a matter of cost. While larger quarries in the region have the resources to make ‘expensive’ consent applications, Ross argues that he shouldn’t have to stump up with any more costs for an extension of the consent. He pays almost $1500 for annual consent fees as it is, plus costs for annual site inspections, and all on top of the rates he pays on the land. Ross says he has been biding his time while the elections got out of the way before heading to Wellington and petitioning the Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith. “I applied for 35 years under the RMA on the basis of what a neighbouring quarry has and their consent also has far fewer conditions than what the council wants to impose on me. There is case law to support this term. “I don’t understand why you can operate for 15–20 years with 17 consent conditions, but to get 35 years you need 53 conditions?” Grant Blackie sees it differently. “As a general comment, we recognise the importance of local quarries, including the employment they create, but there are minimum standards that need to be met. We’d also note that future ownership and operation can change and consent conditions need to take this into account. “On the actual consents for Mr Tucker’s Aria Quarry, we are confident we have both followed proper process and made an extra effort to resolve issues with him. Also, we have been in ongoing discussions with Mr Tucker to find a satisfactory solution.” Blackie says it is still not clear to the council why Ross felt the proposed conditions for the 35-year consent were unreasonable. “We believe the proposed 35-year consent conditions were valid and not onerous.” Meanwhile, he says the council has granted a new 15-year consent on terms similar to Aria’s previous consent. “Those terms are comparable to other quarries of a similar nature and scale,” he says. “We are happy to continue to work with Mr Tucker to resolve any outstanding issues he has.” Q&M Q&M December - January 2015 29


Pike River – the final chapter The Brunner coal seam has won again, locking deep within itself, probably forever, the bodies of the Pike River miners killed in the 2010 explosions. BY HUGH DE LACY.

30 December - January 2015 Q&M


he 16 Pike River miners and 13 contractors join the five miners already entombed in the deadly Brunner coal seam from the 1926 Dobson disaster, and another two left behind after Strongman erupted in 1967. Rescuers had managed to recover all 65 bodies from the 1896 disaster – still the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history – four of the nine killed in Dobson, and two of the 19 from Strongman, but mine owner Solid Energy has abandoned the Pike River 29 as unrecoverable. The Brunner seam’s tally of deaths is now 122, of which 36 bodies remain entombed where they died. When state-owned collier Solid Energy and owner of the Pike River Mine announced this month, in the presence of Prime Minister John Key, that it was not prepared to risk other men’s lives to recover the bodies over two kilometres deep into the Brunner seam, the reaction of the dead men’s families was surprisingly muted, considering the vigour with which they sought a recovery operation. Perhaps they already knew deep down that this was going to be the outcome, albeit four years after the actual tragedy, and Solid Energy’s decision may have imposed some sort of closure for them. The main reason the company wasn’t prepared even to have a go was that there remains only one entrance to the mine, the main portal. A recovery team might have made it into the mine, past such rockfalls as are known to exist, but had further rock fallen behind them there was no way that they could be rescued.

rockfall between them and the entrance, knowing that they would have to be left to starve to death, was in the end too awful to contemplate. And despite the presence of a heavyweight political delegation led by the Prime Minister at the announcement, Solid Energy appears to have made the decision on its own. From the time it acquired the mine from the collapsed Pike River Coal Company in early 2011, Solid Energy stated consistently that safety was the paramount consideration in the question of whether the bodies could be recovered. It had acquired the mine, again apparently on its own initiative, in the first quarter of 2011, following its receipt of a succession of consultants’ reports on its own financial status. One report in particular, by Australia’s Macquarie Bank, criticised Solid Energy’s reserve-asset ratio as being low compared to similar-sized Australian miners. The 40 million tonnes locked up in Pike River made the company’s financial situation look brighter almost in an instant, and the acquisition was pretty well cost-neutral. Also, at the time the acquisition was made in the second quarter of 2011, coking coal prices had slipped from the US$300/tonne highs they had enjoyed earlier, but no one envisioned that they would crash to a bit over US$100/tonne virtually before the year was out. That in turn crashed Solid Energy, which until then had been designated by the Government as

A recovery team might have made it into the mine, past such rockfalls as are known to exist, but had further rock fallen behind them there was no way that they could be rescued. The obvious strategy was to create a second exit through the vertical ventilation shaft, whose pump at the bottom may have triggered the original explosion, but that would have required a drilling rig big enough for the job – and in the steep and wild country of the Paparoa Range northeast of Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island, there was simply no place to site it. Had such a spot existed, the rescuers might have been able to follow the lead of the Chilean authorities who, about the time of the Pike River explosion, drilled down and rescued 39 miners trapped below ground for two months. The key difference was that the 39 Chileans were still alive, and after a small hole had been drilled down to them from the outside, they were able to receive and assemble equipment that enabled them to effect their escape by drilling a second and larger hole from the bottom up. With only one exit at Pike River, the prospect of entrapping more men in the event of another

one of the state-owned enterprises, along with Air New Zealand and three electricity generators, which would be part-privatised by way of the sharemarket. Solid Energy is now virtually unsaleable and has gone into rapid shrinkage mode to cope with coking coal export prices that are below the cost of production. The company still has its domestic markets for about two million tonnes of thermal coal a year – albeit under pressure from imports – but coking coal export prices are currently bumping along at a floor-level US$117/tonne, expected to ease to US$115/tonne in 2015. Solid Energy now wants to quit Pike River, but in the absence of a buyer it’s going to struggle to do even that. Q&M understands it is now in talks with the Government to try to determine how the mine-site will be protected, or otherwise dealt with as the site of the biggest entombment of miners in the country’s accident-plagued coal-mining history. Q&M Q&M December - January 2015 31






for the mainstream

Foton isn’t a household name in New Zealand yet. But its Tunland range of utes have already made their mark, offering up decent specifications for head-turning prices. But how much do you actually get for your money? BY CAMERON OFFICER.


merica’s love affair with the pick-up aside, there remains something about the ute that is intrinsic to the Southern Hemisphere – so much so that light commercial manufacturers from north of the equator pay special attention to our half of the globe. You might not realise this, but Volkswagen’s out-of-the-gate sales winner, the Amarok, is only sold in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and a smattering of South American countries. It sells modestly on the Russian frontier too, but is almost unknown in Western Europe. And only in territories like New Zealand and Australia would you get a sales battle between two heavy hitting ute brands – the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux – making headlines in newspaper business sections, let alone the motoring supplements. We love our utes in this part of the world. And the automotive industry knows it. So really it’s no surprise that, in addition to targeting the Kiwi market with passenger cars and SUVs, emerging Chinese brands

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are also keen to sell us their utes. And sell them by the bucket load. While the ‘car-like’ cliché is never something you’re going to flatter these models with in their current iterations, the likes of Great Wall Motors and – our test model’s manufacturer – Foton, have targeted New Zealand tradies and commercial fleets with something that speaks far louder than standard reversing sensors or flash chrome bull bars; namely aggressively low pricing. On the whole Chinese manufactured utes are landed very cheaply, meaning SME operators are all-of-a-sudden able to get staff out on the road in two or three utes for much less of an outlay. While a double cab ute with well-side tray, running a reasonable level of specification could set you back anywhere between $40,000 and $60,000 were you shopping in Holden, Ford, Nissan or Toyota dealerships, the top tier Tunland from Foton you see here can be on the road for less than $40,000. So what do you actually get for your money?

On the whole Chinese manufactured utes are landed very cheaply, meaning SME operators are all-of-a-sudden able to get staff out on the road in two or three utes for much less of an outlay.

The small but logical Tunland line-up features two cab-chassis and two dual cab options, each configuration offering either 2WD or 4WD drivetrains. The 2.8-litre Cummins turbo-diesel is a standard feature, although tuned for 96kW maximum power and 280Nm peak torque in the bottom rung 2WD cab chassis model (a deficit of 24kW and 80Nm respectively when compared to our test vehicle). The top spec Tunland we tested boasts 17” alloys (the remainder of the range features grade-dependent 16” alloys or steels), side steps, a rear step bumper, rear parking sensors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, an MP3-compatible stereo system with Bluetooth streaming capability and hands-free calling, Daytime Running Lights, side mirrors with a defrost function, leather facings on the seats, dual front airbags and ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. The tow bar, tray liner and tonneau cover our tester sported are all optional extras and Foton’s range of accessories is actually pretty broad. Given the entry price, it wouldn’t be hard to add to the specification of your ute of choice with some useful gear. Another positive is that long spread of peak torque. We didn’t tow with the Tunland, but one imagines you’d barely notice anything within its recommended braked towing capacity hooked to the back. The ride quality is good too, with a mix of double wishbone suspension up front and leaf springs at the back. So all up, there is plenty on offer here. But it has to be said there’s also a bit missing… All Fotons currently only come with a five-speed manual gearbox and it’s something of a numb set of cogs too. The clutch feels rubbery and engages late: something we concede wouldn’t be an issue after spending a week or so driving the ute and getting

a feel for it, but certainly noticeably average when first heading out on-road. The trusty Cummins diesel offers plenty of power, but is a thrashy under load (it does settle down a bit once in the cruise though). Also there are decent amounts of occupant space inside the cab, including the rear bench, although with only a lap belt on offer in the middle-rear seating position the Tunland in this incarnation will always be a runner-up in the safety stakes. At the end of the day? The Foton Tunland is sold for a price because it’s built for a price. It boasts plenty of grunt and – in top-shelf trim – a decent array of comfort and convenience specification too. The running gear isn’t particularly finessed though and, while many user-choosers might specify their ute to double as family transport at the weekend, the Foton feels very much the weekday workhorse rather than a surrogate to the family wagon. This is fine, if that’s what its primary purpose is. And if you’re still sceptical, think about this: when Toyota started selling cars in New Zealand in the ’60s, the general populace took a sideways glance at this newcomer and returned to their Hillmans and Bedfords for a long while. When the Koreans arrived, it took about a decade less for the likes of Hyundai and Kia to find mainstream acceptance. The Chinese nameplates? Your neighbour’s quite possibly driving one already. Q&M

Foton Tunland 2.8L 4WD Dual Cab Engine: 2.8-litre four-cylinder Cummins ISF turbo-diesel Transmission: Five-speed manual Power: 120kW Torque: 360Nm Fuel economy: 8.3L/100km Tow rating: 2500kg (braked) 0-100km/h: N/A Max speed: N/A Price: $29,556 + GST + ORC

Q&M December - January 2015 33




Quarry manager requirements Questions remain around the Health and Safety in Employment Act and the Health and Safety in Employment (Mining and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2013 in relation to the requirements for Certificated Quarry Managers.


n addition to small, seasonal aggregate extraction operations, there are a large number of contractors who own and operate crushing and screening plants that can be classified as a ‘quarry’ under the legal definition of a quarry contained in Section 19N of the Health and Safety in Employment Act. If defined as a quarry then the operator will eventually be required to appoint a quarry manager who holds a current Certificate of Competency. While there has always been a requirement for quarries to have a manager who holds a current Certificate of Competency this will be ‘enforced’ after January 1, 2016. In addition, certificate holders, including ‘lifetime certificate’ holders, will be expected to have obtained unit standards. The older lifetime certificates weren’t based on unit standards and were obtained by sitting examinations. Failure to appoint a qualified quarry manager will mean that the contractor/owner/operator will be non-compliant and liable for service of a prohibition notice, or prosecution. Industry consultation on the proposed extra unit standards closed on November 13. The question is now – how many older managers are going to be bothered sitting unit exams at this stage in their careers? And, if a large number of CoC holders decide to sit additional unit standards

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by the 2016 deadline ¬ – are there the resources to both train and examine them within the 12 month time frame? The short answer is probably not, but no-one seems to know what actual numbers are involved. If the majority of lifetime CoC holders simply work up to the deadline and retire, it will leave a huge gap in both numbers of qualified quarry managers and also experienced personnel. There is also the prospect that a number of existing unit standard based certificate holders, being unable or unwilling to achieve further higher level unit standards, will also create a shortage and quarry operators will be forced to either operate in defiance of the legal requirements (and face prosecution) or close their gates. That will have serious financial effects across the country should it eventuate with increased construction and building costs. While this is a worse case scenario it appears that the industry, or the Government, has not done any research into the effect the certified quarry manager requirement will have on the future of the industry. Taking the best case scenario and presuming a moderate loss of certified quarry managers (a gap that will be filled in the longterm), the industry could still be in for a rough ride if the situation is not reviewed and mollified. Q&M

Higgins specialises in road and infrastructure design, construction and maintenance. Our teams are bonded together by our family values that have developed and evolved over 50 successful years of operation, and we are currently involved in some of the largest civil engineering projects in New Zealand.

southern quarries manager

northern quarries manager

• Opportunity with Higgins In Christchurch

• Opportunity with Higgins in the North Island

Higgins have branches nation-wide, including Christchurch (Calcon and Selwyn Quarries) and also in Nelson. Nelson and Christchurch provide a highly diverse range of services over the mid and upper South Island region.

Higgins have branches nation-wide. A new role ideally based out of Palmerston North, has been developed to accommodate recent growth and a wide variety of operations within the groups quarrying assets to cover the lower to mid North Island region. Included in the range of service coming from Palmerston North are fixed and mobile plant capability for hard rock and alluvial processing.

A new Christchurch based role has been developed to manage the aggregate side of the business in the South Island. These include SQL Wheatsheaf Quarry, Ruru Rd Distribution Centre and two quarries in the Nelson region. SQL is currently generating more than 600,000t of processed aggregate to the Christchurch industry each year. Operations include the Wheatsheaf Quarry, at Broadfield and the Ruru Rd Distribution Centre (RRDC) in Bromley. The Nelson operations are made up of our hardrock Victoria Quarry and alluvial Blackbyre Quarry. The role: • Manage the quarry businesses efficiently and profitably with good risk management and financial disciplines.

The role: • Manage the quarry businesses within the areas efficiently and profitably with good risk management and financial disciplines. • Ensure that all quarry and aggregate operations are agile, innovative and technically savvy. • Uphold the highest standards of care and safety for employees, customers, neighbours, stakeholders and the environment. The successful candidate:

• Uphold the highest standards of care and safety for employees, customers, neighbours, stakeholders and the environment.

• You will be highly commercially astute, with a strong marketing focus and a sound track record of building lasting relationships with key clients, sub-contractors, public and local body representatives.

The successful candidate:

Experience and skills required:

• You will be highly commercially astute, with a strong marketing focus and a sound track record of building lasting relationships with key clients, sub-contractors, public and local body representatives.

• An established operator with experience of running a successful commercial business, preferably in the roading contracting, civil engineering or similar sectors.

• Can point to successful land acquisition and consent process achievements.

• A thorough understanding of QA, H&S and RMA procedures, requirement and obligations.

Experience and skills required:

• Quarry Managers Certificate is desirable.

• Ensure that all quarry and aggregate operations are agile, innovative and technically savvy.

• An established operator with experience of running a successful commercial business, preferably in the roading contracting, civil engineering or similar sectors. • Relevant Engineering and management tertiary qualifications. • A thorough understanding of QA, H&S and RMA procedures, requirement and obligations. • Quarry Managers Certificate is desirable.

• Relevant Engineering and management tertiary qualifications.

For a confidential enquiry contact Gerald on (03) 335 3272 or apply online at www.echelongroup.co.nz Applications close12 December 2014. To be considered you must contact Echelon Group directly as applications through other agencies will not be considered or accepted.



Case study in weight accuracy Fulton Hogan was the contractor for a new 23 kilometre motorway development near Tauranga that needed over two million cubic metres of imported fill. Paengaroa Sands was contracted to supply the fill for the project but at that stage could only estimate loading weight as the weighbridge was located 12 kilometres away. Obviously over, or under, loaded trucks couldn’t be identified until they reached these scales and then it was too late to adjust the load. To make matters worse, these trucks had to travel past a police check point in order to get to the truck scales – a route that sees a number of companies suffer overloading tickets. Richard Scowan, the manager of Paengaroa Sands, looked for a way to calculate each payload of sand on site and installed Loadrite X-2350 scales to the excavators loading the trucks transporting the fill. The real-time weight information of each load ensures trucks are loaded to their maximum possible weight. “Loadrite gave us the confidence to bid for the contract,” he says. The alternative was installing a weighbridge or scanner on site, a significant investment that would have forced them to turn down the job. “For simplicity and value for money it was the only option and the scales pay for themselves every month 10 times!” Loading each truck to its maximum legal capacity has also reduced

the number of trips required to haul the same amount of fill. When taking into account the round trip of 50 kilometres, the savings quickly stacked up from one or two less trips per day. “The return on investment has been tenfold,” says Richard. Not to mention the peace of mind the system provides at the police check point. Richard also loves the fact that if he sells his excavator he doesn’t lose the technology, but can take it with him.

Easy invoicing Paengaroa Sands also uses the Loadrite printed docket detailing the load as a receipt for Fulton Hogan. “It a key bloody thing in my business – companies want to know they are getting exactly what they pay for. With the Loadrite system when we go in with a 30 tonne truck, they get 30 tonne; we get paid for 30 tonne.” The simplicity of the technology makes it easy for all staff to handle, says Richard. Simple functionality and self-explanatory symbols mean his operators, old and new, can use the system to its full potential. “It’s not rocket science! I just give my operators easy instructions to follow.” More information: www.loadritescales.com

Advertisers Index Chevron New Zealand....................................................... OBC

Porter Equipment.......................................OFC, IFC, 1, 12, 13

Fire Suppression Systems.................................................... 21

Rocktec.............................................................................. 33

Echelon Group.................................................................... 35

Gough Group....................................................................... 5 Equip2................................................................................. 7 QuarryNZ IoQ / AQA Annual Conference 2015..................... 25

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Position Partners................................................................ 11 Ryco Hydraulics.................................................................. 21 Transdiesel.......................................................................... 9 West-Trak Equipment........................................................... 3

A P I E R A I R P O R T R U N WAY [ H I G G I N S ]












An annual report on the country’s contracting industry with contributions from selected association chiefs, expert commentators and industry representatives who reflect on the past year and forecast the coming year.