Crusher Market Report

The market for quarry equipment is yet to recover from its correction

Economy of scale is needed for quarries  to operate in a market were the  price of aggregates remains low
Economy of scale is needed for quarries to operate in a market were the price of aggregates remains low

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Following the precipitous drop in the construction market in the UAE in 2009, and the overall impact of the Global Financial Crisis, many sectors of the PMV market were almost wiped out overnight.

Some equipment segments have come back rather quickly. Road building equipment in the UAE is holding strong, and in Saudi Arabia, most areas of the machinery market are growing.

Nevertheless, sellers of quarrying equipment are finding that demand – both for machinery and for parts – is yet to pick up, as the overall volumes of construction projects underway remains well below its previous peaks, depressing the price for the aggregate they produce.

The UAE is a major supplier of quarried materials to the GCC, from quarries in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah. The local seller of Powerscreen, Genavco, saw a massive drop in sales, and has seen little in the way of recovery.

At the market peak, sales of Powerscreen products amounted to 23-25 million dirhams annually for the dealership, says equipment divisional manager Asif Khan, and it was the third or fourth revenue stream in the equipment division.

Now the business is worth perhaps only 1 million dirhams annually.

“We have done an extensive survey to see how many quarries are in a healthy situation and operating, and we found that about 30-40% of quarry companies are either closed down, or their production capacity has been bought down to half of their total capacity,” says Khan.

“Some of the plants have been shut down. Those that we doing three shifts are doing only single shifts. Our parts business has been affected because the machines are not moving.

“That is a major concern of ours, and our principals, of how to revive that business, but we can’t create demand, we can only serve to the demand, and that business has really been badly affected due to the financial crisis and the downturn.”

While many of the major quarries in the UAE are running at lower capacity, Bob de Weerd, managing director of ILE Rentals, sees an opportunity for the smaller mobile Keestrack crusher and screening units his company sells and rents.

Whereas most quarries in the UAE have huge stationary crushers, in Europe more than half of the quarries utilise mobile crusher units, partly because quarrying licenses are short, so companies do not wish to invest in a stationary plant.

The advantages of a mobile crusher are several, says de Weerd, including having the crusher at the blasting site, rather than having to transport the material to the stationary crusher with expensive rock trucks.

Operators also have much more flexibility, and can use the plants to produce different size materials; within half an hour the settings on a machine can be adjusted to change the size to adapt to market demand.

Another advantage is that a smaller capacity crusher can be used for a certain period, and then moved elsewhere. Starting up a stationary plant requires a much greater amount of material.

Based in Qatar, Agg-Pro is the agent of McCloskey International and Gipo Crushers for the GCC, and as a business deals in with crushing and screening equipment. Unlike the UAE, which is predominantly sandy ground, in Qatar a new construction project often requires significant excavation of ground limestone, which can be re-used on site.

Eastwood believes that when the mega projects come online they will be involved, with Agg-Pro’s range including large, 1100 t/h crushers. “Tender prices are now very competitive and we see our larger range of crushers and screens coming into play to keep running costs low when re-using the excavated material on site.

“With single crusher tonnage outputs of 1100tph the cost savings could be enormous. The reduction in man power, loading equipment, wear parts and fuel costs would be a huge saving where normally a contractor would have used four or five smaller crushing operations.”

Eastbrook says that they depend on projects actually being funded and awarded. “Many local and foreign construction companies are tendering for many projects but the awards are slow and the time spent waiting is frustrating.

Plant and machinery suppliers try to hold the correct stock for up-coming projects but when they do not get released on time or postponed with no new date is sight, this can cause problems which restrict our other departments performing at the preferred levels.”

ILE Rentals is another company looking to push the use of crushers into non-quarrying applications. They currently offer their crushers for on-site recycling of construction and demolition waste.

De Weerd says that in order to make it easier for contractors, ILE will bring the crusher to the building site the supporting excavator operators , and perform the recycling process.

They now charge a per-tonne rate of nine dirhams, in order to make it simple for contractors to calculate how much they stand to save on waste transportation and dumping costs. Like many in the industry, de Weerd is eager to see the use of recycled waste become more widespread.

Dust control
General manager of Agg-Pro, Charlie Eastwood, says that one area of growth they see in the region is for dust control, a technology where large misters are used to control dust.

These can be used in quarries, as well as on construction projects and for demolitions. Agg-Pro has acquired a number of units, and Eastwood says he would like to see their use more widespread in the region.

“Due to recent problems getting a crushing permit due to the association between crushers and airborne dust we have had to invest in a range of dust control machines.

“Mobile crushers and screens working in this region will create dust - as they do everywhere in the world. But the contractor must be able to use the crusher or screen close to the city projects to make full use of the excavated rock on their site which will make the investment for the project viable.

“I have seen companies awarded huge infrastructure projects where a rented crushing site is required and they have had to wait months for an allocated site and crushing permit. I would have thought the rented crushing site would come with the award but with special guidelines which would include dust control requirements.”

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PMV Middle East - September 2018

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