Hooper Contracting is the Wairarapa's 2nd largest Quarrying operation with a contracting arm that fueled the Quarry's start in 1995.
Managed by Dave Hooper, the Quarrying division was initially a roller crusher on a Bulldozer to take paddock rock and turn it into a crushed rock product for Hooper's forest roading projects. 26 years later, they supply more than just forestry with roading material; they also supply NZ's largest roading contractor, building supply businesses and local developers.
They primarily source their raw feed material from paddocks in the Wairarapa, which are old riverbeds and tributaries. Paddock rock provides ample boulders for drainage, pebble supply and crushing with minimal round faces.
They also process directly sourced river run but have found resource and success with paddock rock sourced from local farms.
Bruce McKenzie has worked at Hooper Contracting for the last 6 years and manages 3 full-time operators in their Masterton Quarry/Yard. He recalls when they initially screened their paddock run with a fixed grizzly screen and crushed it with 20-tonne Mitsubishi Jaw Crusher; he finds now, though, that demand for basic crushed products has never been so high.
Word of mouth has been their primary growth driver and enabled them to be in a position to supply the recent spike in demand for resource in the area.
A Day in the Life of a Quarry Manager
Bruce's top 3 Daily Activities keep him busy and the site productive.
- H&S. Ensure everyone is working safely and meeting the company's health and safety requirements. Sometimes Hooper's contracting staff will help fill in on busy days, and with extra staff comes the need for extra organisation.
- Production & Quality. Bruce is accountable for total production and its quality. Constant checking of outputs through the day ensures that the product isn't contaminated or supplied with too many rounds.
- Enforce Best Practice. Coaching and training by making sure things are maintained and run correctly to get the best machine performance with no unexpected downtime.
Hooper's Quarry Machinery over the years
Starting with a Roller Crusher on a Bulldozer when Hooper's started making their own product in '95, things couldn't look more different in '21. Forestry has always been a big driver of aggregate demand, spawning many quarries around NZ to supply a product that can provide high-load traction in some of the toughest conditions. That's what started Hoopers down the track of making product nearby their local forestry roading contracts, reducing transport costs and bringing in a product margin.
Hooper's soon acquired a 20-tonne Mitsubishi Jaw, and it served their forestry requirements well. They also brought on a contract crusher to help fill the gaps, particularly with more specifically produced products that a Jaw would struggle to make for a growing trade in roading and construction.
In 2014 they saw that the Mitsubishi Jaw wasn't enough to keep up, and it's where they first met up with Equip2, picking up a freshly refurbished Sandvik QJ241 30-Tonne Jaw Crusher.
A new and larger paddock rock resource was sourced and consented in 2016, making the grizzly screen insufficient to process a 10 year supply of raw resource. They needed a new screen, and a Keestrack K4 was perfect for the job.
Soon after, in 2018, they were almost using a Contract Crusher full time to help process the demand; they calculated that getting their own Impact Crusher would save them money and open up new avenues. Hoopers trialled a new R3 and found it a great fit, cementing an ongoing relationship with Equip2 to supply the equipment they needed.
The R3 was Bruce's first Impactor, and he says it was a steep learning curve at first. But after completing the plant induction with Equip2 and experimenting with the different adjustments the machine offers, they were on top of it.
"We had a large amount of dry river rock to crush, and it was the R3's first job; I remember getting over 1,000 tonnes a day from the machine, which was really satisfying. I didn't believe we could get that much out of it.
An Impactor like the Keestrack R-Series may have a steeper learning curve at first, but their versatility is unparalleled. To produce these products would require Jaw and Cone.
See "Is an Impactor right for my Quarry" to learn more.
"The K4 is Tiny's machine." Says Bruce, "When we started screening out at Mt. Bruce, the old grizzly wasn't enough anymore and processing all the paddock rock out there needed something that could process it all to feed the crushing plants."
Why the K4? A heavy-duty scalping screen can handle the large assortment of boulders and rock found at Mt. Bruce. The K4 excels in the frequently adverse weather and keeps the Crushing Plant's back in Masterton well stocked with feed material.
Big boulders and sticky materials are no problem for the K4 and Tiny out at Mt. Bruce. Stay dry and warm in the Cab.
Hooper's have been a long-time customer of Equip2; the machinery supplied has supported Hooper's growth and produced what their customers want.
Top on Bruce's list is how easy the equipment is to use and the service to help them stay on target.
"Both the K4 and R3 are operator friendly. My favourite has got to be the Wireless Remote; you can adjust it all from the remote, it saves a lot of time, particularly when you have to stop feeding a machine and load a truck. I wish the Sandvik did that."
But it's more than just the Machinery that keeps Bruce happy.
"I can always get help with things quickly, I can ring one of the lads, and they'll sort it over the phone, or if we need something technical, they're here on site in the day."
Quarries need more than Machinery
As Bert from Equip2 tells it, Quarrying in NZ needs more than just good machinery to excel; they need support behind them to grow the business and navigate the constantly shifting environment of resource trends.
"Selling and Hiring machinery is the basics, but we focus on sustainability. Helping the business be profitable in the products they're producing and aiding them in producing specced products that their customers are asking them to supply. That's why when someone asks us about a machine we go through with them our Eco-Calculator™, we work out all the costs to own this machine and what they can expect as a return on their products. The machine is a big investment; we make sure it's a sustainable business solution."