Leading Queensland-based mining and earthmoving contractor Golding Contractors was a pioneering user of Komatsu equipment.
Founded by the legendary Cyril Golding in 1942, Golding became Queensland's largest privately owned infrastructure, mining and earthmoving contractor, working on many of the state's iconic infrastructure and resources projects.
Cyril literally started his company with the purchase of a pushbike to let him get to work faster, growing the company to become the largest owner of Komatsu equipment in the country.
His success was based around the strong relationships he formed with everyone he met, and the bond he developed with his staff; Cyril always made a point of remembering key personal details about people, and talking to staff about how they were going.
Cyril continued to be active in the business until he finally sold in 2009 to a leading private investment fund. Cyril passed away in 2012 at the age of 92.
Today, Golding continues to provide quality contracting services to a range of high profile and valued clients in civil construction and mining. The business still operates one of the largest privately owned mining and earthmoving fleets in Queensland including a significant Komatsu fleet.
Golding's relationship with Komatsu began in 1978 when, following some unresolved issues with another equipment dealer, Cyril began looking for an alternative supplier.
As a result of discussions with LeTourneau Westinghouse (Australia), the Komatsu dealer at the time, Cyril purchased three WS23S scrapers which ultimately proved to be the first step to a fleet of 26 of these machines.
This was a fortunate relationship for Komatsu, as Cyril Golding became a major force in the Queensland earthmoving industry continuing to purchase more and more Komatsu equipment to support his company's growth.
Down to Earth recently caught up with Sid Ryton-Benson, Golding's Plant Technical Services Specialist, who has been with the company since 1985, and has played an integral role in servicing and maintaining its equipment fleet.
Like Cyril, Sid is a fan of Komatsu product and, in fact, he firmly believes that it was the innovation, reliability and product support from Komatsu that helped make Golding the success it still is today.
"Those WS23S scrapers we bought in the late 1970s, through into the 1980s and beyond, pretty much made Golding the company it is," Sid says.
"Whenever one came out in Australia, Golding would buy it plus we would buy the ones off our competitors as they finished with them or could not maintain them."
"The company was built on the back of our fleet of Komatsu scrapers. Literally!" he says. "They were such a versatile machine for us.
Sid concedes that the Komatsu scrapers were not without their problems in the early days, requiring plenty of ongoing research and development, because they were new products for Komatsu and the Australian market conditions can be somewhat demanding.
"I believe Golding were instrumental in helping develop them into a successful machine," he says.
"And as a result, it became very common knowledge throughout the industry that if anyone wanted to know anything about Komatsu scrapers, they just needed to ring Graeme Batterbee, who was the maintenance manager when I first started with Golding.
"I lived, breathed, dreamed, and cried Komatsu scrapers for many years!"
"We can't say enough good things about the relationship between Golding and Komatsu"
Today, Golding remains a significant operator of Komatsu equipment something that Sid puts down to the strong relationship between the two companies.
"Definitely a big thing for Golding is the relationship we have with Komatsu; for many years, Golding was perhaps the largest owner of Komatsu equipment in Queensland, if not Australia and whilst that may no longer be true, the relationship hasn't changed.
We feel that we're still treated like we are Komatsu's number 1 buyer. That goes a long way with us," he says.
This has extended to sharing resources between the two companies, including hosting a Golding apprentice at Komatsu's Gladstone branch, "cross-pollination" of senior personnel moving between the two companies over the years, and swapping information, technical resources and even tools.
"We can't say enough good things about the relationship between Golding and Komatsu," says Sid.
Today, Golding is facing up to the challenges of a declining resources sector in its home state, which is driving the company to look at new market opportunities outside of Queensland, including interstate, Papua New Guinea, and the South Pacific.
The company still has some significant ongoing resources-based contracts in Queensland, including:Incitec Pivot's Phosphate Hill Phosphate Mine, where Golding is responsible for waste and ore mining, gypsum handling and fertilizer shed operations at this remote North West Queensland mine.CS Energy's Kogan Creek Coal Mine, situated on the edge of the Surat Basin near Chinchilla, where Golding mines coal to fuel the adjacent Kogan Creek Power Station.Wesfarmers Curragh Coal Mine, where, Golding works, together with Wesfarmers, in overburden removal and coal mining operations.
It was actually at Curragh that Down To Earth spoke with Sid, where Golding has a fleet of eight of its own Komatsu 730E trucks working alongside ten 830E trucks owned by Emeco and Golding's Komatsu PC3000-1 that's logged nearly 40,000 hours.
"This project is a true partnership between ourselves and Wesfarmers, working together constructively towards the same goals," says Sid.
To better address the market opportunities, Golding is now organised along four key service lines, as follows:Mining currently focused in key Queensland mining centres, but looking to grow further afieldCivil where the primary focus is on transport projects (road, rail, airport) and resources infrastructurePacific targeting civil infrastructure projects in PNG and the South PacificUrban successfully delivering a growing volume of subdivision works and associated infrastructure.
"In each of the above sectors, and in the future we want to continue to focus on opportunities in this business, and maintain our reputation as a trusted, highly regarded, efficient and competitive supplier," says Sid.