A three-decade long relationship between a large-scale equipment supplier and a family run quarrying operation on the West Rand, Gauteng, South Africa, 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 years 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, according to 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),” says Meintjes.
“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,” adds Meintjes.
“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 frontend 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 Meintjes.
“But Lion Park Quarries would later need a good deal of assistance on all fronts to unlock the new mineral wealth at its feet,” remembers Meintjes’ long-time supplier and confidant, Des van Heerden, divisional director of ELB Equipment. “The 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,” says Van Heerden.
“We also structured different types of payment plans so that the company could grow at a reasonable pace without depleting cashflows and potentially jeopardising its progress,” adds Van Heerden.
ELB worked with Johan to find solutions to extract the weathered granite rock in the most reliable and economical way possible. “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 an ELB 600 stacker for stockpiles,” says Van Heerden.