South Australia's Penrice Soda Holdings Ltd, which has been on a "power-by-the-hour" contract for a large fleet of Komatsu equipment since 2006, has recently upgraded three loaders at its Angaston limestone quarry in South Australia's Barossa Valley.

08102010PenriceUpgradesThreeKomatsuLoaders-(1).jpgWith the lease running out on a number of the loaders at the quarry, over the past few months it has upgraded three of its sales loaders and a face loader, said Chris Andrews, Mine Production Manager at Angaston.

Komatsu equipment in operation at Penrice which is Australia's only manufacturer of soda ash covered by the power-by-the-hour arrangement through Komatsu Australia Corporate Finance (KACF) and rented in as required, includes two PC1250-7 excavators, two PC450LC-8 excavators, two WA900-3 loaders, two WA700-3 loaders, two WA600-3 loaders, three WA480-6 loaders, six HD785-5 dump trucks, three HD465-5 dump trucks with 60 tonne bodies, two HD325-7 water trucks, a D155A-5 dozer, a GD655A-3 grader, an SK714-5 skidsteer, and an HM400-2 and HM300-2 articulated dump truck.

In the first half of this year, Penrice upgraded three of the WA480-6 loaders and one of the WA600-3 production loaders.

"We've been very happy with the production and reliability of the Komatsu loaders, along with the support and service package provided by Komatsu Australia, so when the leases ran out on these machines, we opted to replace them with new loaders," Chris said.

Penrice's power-by-the-hour arrangement gives the quarry terms from 12,000 hours up to 18,000 hours for each item of equipment covered.

"It's based on equipment hours, and we pay for what we use during that period.

"This arrangement has enabled us to upgrade our fleet efficiently, plus it allows us to gauge very accurately what our equipment running costs will be over a sustained period," said Chris.

Penrice's Angaston quarry, which was set up in 1950, not only supplies the company's soda ash manufacturing plant in Adelaide, but also supplies products for civil construction applications such as road construction and cement manufacturing, and high-grade chemical sand for the glass-manufacturing industry.

Soda ash is a vital ingredient in manufacturing products ranging from glass containers (especially wine bottles) to washing powder, and sodium bicarbonate, used in applications as diverse as animal feed, food and pharmaceuticals.

The quarry was originally established to supply Penrice's Osborne factory in Adelaide with the limestone required for the production of soda ash, and the quarry still provides 500,000 tonnes of high-grade limestone per year to that plant.

It has also moved into supplying the civil construction sector, providing aggregates to concrete batchingplants and roadbase material to developers, councils, contractors and the like.

The Angaston quarry is the largest marble and limestone quarry in South Australia.