Iron Ore Heavyweights
Hauling more with Hitachi in the South Middleback Ranges
Established in 1992, BGC Contracting is a recognised leader in mining and civil construction and one of the largest iron ore contractors in Australia.
As a major player in open pit mining – gold mining operations and bulk mining of iron ore – its mining and civil business units deliver mining and construction services across the resources, oil and gas, government infrastructure, building and manufacturing sectors.
BGC Contracting is part of BGC (Australia) Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s largest privately owned companies employing more than 4000 people. Its mining activities encompass surface mining, drill and blast, off-road and on-road haulage, and train loading services.
Executive General Manager of Mining for BGC Contracting Martin Spibey said being part of the BGC Group provides a competitive advantage over other industry players.
“Our mining and civil business units are experiencing significant growth and we are in a strong position to draw upon expertise in a number of specialist areas across the BGC Group,” he said.
In November 2012, BGC commenced operations at Arrium Mining’s South Middleback Ranges (SMR) iron ore mine operation as part of a five-year contract.
Located approximately 60km from Whyalla in South Australia, Arrium’s SMR operations produce more than six million tonnes of hematite ore per annum for export to China and other East Asian markets.
BGC have supplied several Hitachi mining excavators to assist the loading and haulage of iron ore – three EX2600-6s, one EX2500-5 and one EX1900-6.
Martin outlined critical factors that facilitated their decision to purchase Hitachi excavators.
“Superior availability and productivity potential played an imperative role in our decision to choose Hitachi,” he said.
“The machines were available when we needed them and the ability to attach specific bucket sizes to the excavators proved very attractive from a productivity perspective.”
The tough and challenging environment of the SMR region and importance of meeting production demands requires robust and reliable machinery.
“Our Hitachi EX2500-5 excavator has worked in some harsh conditions over the years,” said Martin. “It continues to perform strong – overall we are extremely happy with our excavator fleet.”
BGC’s Executive General Manager of Plant Peter Tejchman supported their investment in Hitachi indicating user acceptance as being high among operators.
“Operators are brought up with particular equipment brands – from experience with different machines and operators the Hitachi excavators are definitely popular,” he said.
A series of innovative technologies designed to enhance safety were installed on the Hitachi excavators.
Specialised Global Positioning Systems fitted to each machine provide operators with accurate data when digging without the need for surveying.
Additionally, during the assembly process of the excavator fleet, wireless monitoring cameras were utilised to precisely align the lower and upper structures of the machines. In doing so, personnel were kept at a safe distance from the lift zone area, eliminating potential harm.
Over the term of BGC’s contract at Arrium’s SMR operation, product specialists from Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCA) are operating out of Whyalla to manage technical aspects of the Hitachi fleet.
“There was a high degree of flexibility from the team at HCA during the purchase process,” said Peter. “Due to the strict specifications we required in our new machines, we felt that anything was possible.
“We have developed a strong relationship with both HCA and Marubeni Equipment Finance (MEF). We are comfortable with the knowledge that MEF is funded by Marubeni Corporation Japan. This is recognised at the highest levels of our company where there is a long-standing relationship between BGC Australia and MEF.”