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The Higgins Group of companies owns ten aggregate mining operations. Seven of those quarries are in full-time production and there’s a mobile crushing plant that services a number of temporary sites.

Cobus van Vuuren, who has been with the company for ten years, oversees this whole complex business of extraction.
“I had worked for 25 years in hard rock quarries in South Africa, when I came to New Zealand for a holiday, “ he explains, “I met the Higgins family and talk cropped up of a potential opportunity down here. I basically couldn’t resist the temptation and that was a decade ago now!”

At the time, the firm’s quarrying division was fragmented and van Vuuren’s first task was to bring it all into line and facing the same direction. With that process of formalisation achieved, it’s now a highly successful business line for the company.

Results continue to improve too through the adoption and adaptation of modern technology. Van Vuuren won the ‘Niemac Award for Innovative Plant Operation or Work Method within the Industry’ at this year’s quarrying conference for a telemetry system now incorporated into the company’s front-end loaders.

Mr van Vuuren (pictured right) developed the winning system in close conjunction with Pat Dougherty of RDS Systems, the Hawkes Bay-based New Zealand Distributor for RDS Technology on-board weighing products, and also with software provider TincanIT.

“It is basically a request and reporting function to streamline accurate service provision,” he says. “When a docket is created for the job, it is transmitted to the loader operator and appears on the screen in his cab. It tells him what product to deliver to the truck and how much. Once the truck is loaded, that information is transmitted back to base, where it can be double-checked against the initial job request.” It is such progress that keeps the industry moving forward and it is thanks to people such as Mr van Vuuren and Pat Dougherty that modern technology is now central to the continued success of quarrying.




Case Load Log enabled wheeled loaders
Above: RDS Technology on-board weighing systems in use at Higgins Group Quarries in New Zealand .



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