Building quarrying legacy on trust

Lion Park Quarries team shown to have “The right stuff”

A three-decade long relationship between a large-scale equipment supplier and a family run quarrying operation on the West Rand has become a prime case study in the establishment of a successful symbiotic business relationship.

In this instance the ‘chance’ recruitment of ELB Equipment as the preferred equipment supplier for Lion Park Quarries 31-year ago has led to a partnership that has taken the company from a small river sand supplier, to one of the most successful privately owned sand and aggregate quarries in the Western Gauteng area. Much of the success of the venture, says owner Johan Meintjes, can be ascribed to the reliable equipment, after sales service and finance assistance that has been offered to the company through the years.

“Back in the day we started our river sand operation with a single Furukawa FL 230 front end loader that we bought from Blacks Engineering, a start-up company with a decent sales manager, who convinced us that the big Japanese machines were the best-way-to-go for reliability and work ability. But, after owning it for a year or two, he relocated to England and the company was sold to Bateman Earthmoving Equipment (later became ELB Equipment).

Defining moment

“That was really where it all began and we soon found that ELB was a really good company with honest people and terrific support for their machines. We began working very closely with them and as our requirements began to change they became an integral part of our decision-making process to supply the right equipment for the jobs required. 

“This meant that as the sand operation grew and moved to our new site, we needed more front end loaders and decided to buy their new Kawasaki loaders. During this period the Furukawa front end loaders were being discontinued and the company had a joint venture with Kawasaki to continue producing some of its machines. ELB scooped-up the Kawasaki agency and the new machines quickly propelled our production to a completely new level.

“With vastly improved turnover and a growing fleet, we soon exhausted our fine river sand overburden and were faced with the new challenge of solid bedrock which also presented us with the opportunity to become a fully-fledged quarry able to supply both the home building industry as well as roads and certain infrastructure projects,” explains Johan.

Business support

“But they would need a good deal of assistance on all fronts to unlock the new mineral wealth at their feet,” remembers his long-time supplier and confidant, Des van Heerden, divisional director of ELB Equipment. “This simple load and haul operation was about to get a whole lot more complicated. From now on the operation would need blasting, excavating, loading, crushing, screening, washing and stockpiling and, fortunately, we could provide them with the right solutions.

“We also structured different types of payment plans so that the company could grow at a reasonable pace without depleting cashflows and potentially jeopardizing its progress. All the while myself and other key personnel at ELB worked with Johan to find solutions to extract the weathered granite rock in the most reliable and economical way possible.

“And so Johan, who had been joined by his son Johan Jnr at that point, began building a formidable fleet of Sumitomo SH300 and SH350 excavators, Kawasaki 60ZIV and 85ZIV front end loaders to feed production to a Powerscreen Jaw Crusher and SR1000 cone crusher and screen for different product sizes. From there the process continues to an ELB supplied M1700 washer plant and Fines Master washing systems from Terex that delivers the tonnages that they need. Finally, the quarry uses a ELB 600 stacker for stock piles - ready for loading,” says Des.

New generation

Like his father, Johan Jnr sites the easy-to-deal-with attitude of ELB Equipment as the main enabler for their lasting relationship with the company. “From the workers to the service manager and CEO everybody is available to talk to us and are genuinely interested in our business. Whether it is a Sunday night or public holiday, if we need expertise, spares or backup they are there for us.

“Likewise, in terms of availability, the big yellow machines are in a different league to all the other makes that we have tried through the years. I guess that is where ELB Equipment has a big advantage over OEMs who must sell their own brand even if certain types or models are not very good. Similarly, the processing and stockpiling equipment is reliable and gives us advanced functionality to process a wider range of products.

“In the 15 years that I have been involved with the company there is not another company that values service like ELB Equipment does – they have not let us down. I don't think we could have succeeded without an equipment partner like ELB Equipment. We stand together and we work together and they have the backup and expertise to take our business forward,” Johan Jnr concludes.  

ELB Equipment, Desmond van Heerden, Tel: (011) 306 0722, Fax: (011) 918 7208, Email: desmondv@elbquip.co.za, Web: www.elbequipment.com

Facts:

Supporting development

Lion Park Quarries supplies everything from road aggregates to river sand and aggregates for the large-scale housing developments in the area.

Its ‘Grand Old Lady’ Furukawa FL 230 machine is still in full production. The oldest Kawasaki machines have over 40 000 hours and show no signs of fatigue. The Sumitomo excavators uphold unparalleled production rates and are classed as ‘Ultra Reliable’

Terex crushers, screens and washers provide customers with high quality aggregates and Lion Park Quarries aggregates are sought after throughout the western region of Gauteng. Stockpiles are generally sufficient for 48 hours as demand is of such a nature that developers order their aggregates as fast as they can produce.

The Quarry has reserves for 15-20 years.