Mole Creek Quarry in central northern Tasmania is proof that natural resources can be harnessed to benefit more than one sector of the same community.
Owned by Unimin Australia Limited, a diversified processor and supplier of raw materials for local and overseas manufacturing and primary industries, the limestone quarry has existed in harmony with nearby national parks and limestone tourist caves for more than 30 years.
Situated 74 km south of Devonport and about 25 km west of Deloraine, the quarry is one of 31 active Unimin extraction sites around Australia. It’s also home to a pair of Volvo articulated dump trucks which have settled in for the long haul.
Quarry Manager Brian How has worked at the site since 1977, but Mole Creek’s first Volvo, an A40D only joined the equipment fleet three years ago. “The company was looking for some standardisation for haul trucks around its sites and had some experience with Volvo articulated dump trucks at its limestone quarries at Attunga in NSW and Murgon in Queensland,” he said.
“We’ve had the A40D for nearly 4,500 hours of reliable service. The fuel economy has been very good - much better than the haul truck it has replaced and the operators like it, so it has been a success all round.”
Unimin’s Mole Creek Quarry acquired its second Volvo, an A40E in mid 2008, entrusting its maintenance and that of the A40D to CJD Equipment ’s Launceston branch. “The two Volvos are our production trucks,” Brian How said. “They work five days a week hauling overburden and they also haul limestone to the crusher we have on site. The haul road distance varies between one and a half to two and a half kilometres.
“We have a kiln and a hydration plant which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that’s another reason we need to have reliable equipment. “This site is not as wet as some of the locations where articulated haul trucks work, but our Volvos have to be reliable and they’ve certainly met our needs in that regard. We’ve also noticed the increased power output of the new A40E.”
The extra power of the A40E comes in handy at Mole Creek, especially when dealing with big loads made even larger by the fitting of hungry boards to the dump body sides.
Volvo articulated articulated dump trucks are popular in Tasmania for extraction work, major operator Shaw Contracting has three A40Ds and two of the latest A40E models hard at work at the state’s Mt Bischoff tin mine.