Close-to-Home Demands – Portable crushing provides new aggregate opportunities.
By Andrew Macklin
At the same time that arguments are coming forward from the public for
close-to-home aggregate solutions, the technology to provide the product
is more refined than ever.
At the same time that arguments are coming forward from the public for close-to-home aggregate solutions, the technology to provide the product is more refined than ever.
The emergence of portable crushers and screens across most of our national landscape has provided an alternative to the stationary crushing and screening spreads that demand large enough pits and quarries to make the equipment purchase viable. Years ago, smaller pits and quarries were considered an afterthought and dismissed by medium or large-scale rock producers. But now, with the introduction of portable crushing solutions, smaller crushing needs can be addressed, at a price that makes it cost effective to do so. Companies like Biloski Bros. Sand and Gravel, who we featured in our January/February edition, rent a portable crusher for a couple of months at a time, crushing enough material for a full year. That has allowed them to extend the life of smaller pits in an area of the country where large deposits of rock are not in abundance.
The development of portability in Canada has thrown the doors wide open to the recycling of aggregate waste, diverting it from landfills and making it a part of the profitability model for pits and quarries. Our cover story in the March/April edition looked at the City of Kitchener, Ont., looked at how the municipality stores all of its aggregate waste in one facility, and has it crushed annually to provide aggregates for the next construction season. That work was done across January and February, typically downtime for crushing in pits and quarries in southern Ontario.
In this issue, you’ll read about Duivenvoorden Haulage Limited of Innisfil, Ont. The company’s crushing spreads are active at three pits they own in the area – crushing both virgin and recycled aggregates – but also in remote parts of the province. It has taken its portable spreads to Manitoulin Island to do custom crushing work, as well as a to quartz mine in the remote northeastern part of Ontario. Neither of those locations would likely have been accessed without some kind of portable crushing solution.
Having access to smaller job sites, and being able to meet the needs of an emerging recycled products market, has taken some of the pressure off virgin aggregate production in some parts of the country where NIMBY activists have shouted down plans for larger quarries. Clearly those larger sites are still needed in order to meet the growing needs of a crumbling national infrastructure. But the use of portable units for smaller-scale pits and on-site recycling can serve as a tool to show those same activists that the industry is doing its best to use all available aggregate materials within this country. Government organizations, environmental associations and mobs of concerned citizens can now be clearly shown that the aggregate industry is doing its part in using all of Canada’s supply, but it isn’t enough to completely quench their infrastructure appetite.
Thanks to the emergence of portable crushing and screening solutions, we are using aggregate supplies that were deemed too small, too inaccessible and too unaffordable a little more than a decade ago. That should be a step in the right direction as the fight continues to open new sources of virgin materials in large quantities,