Glamstone quarry has been producing aggregates of various sizes for the past twenty years to meet the requirements of the construction and engineering works within a radius of 30 kms of Pendle. The quarry is still engaged in old technologies and machinery with 30 employees and producing only 500,000 tonnes of aggregates of various sizes per annum to be supplied locally within a radius of 30 kms from its location. Since the quarry has been taken over by the UK wide group of quarries and the new owners look forward for the growth and development of the quarry, the technology used the old machinery and the local community as well. Here we have the complete strategic plan for the quarry which is now only left with a reserve for four years and it would be difficult to manage it any further without introducing substantial changes.
The objective of this study report is to find the viability of financial and socio-economic aspects of the modernization of the quarry.
Aggregate is a product used for all construction and civil engineering works. Aggregate of various sizes are among the prime components of the materials used for construction and civil engineering works.
The Market Potential
The quarry has been producing 500,000 tonnes of the aggregate of various sizes for the market surrounding 30 kms of its location at Pendle for past twenty years. As the plan of redevelopment of waterside into both commercial and housing building is in the regeneration programme of the nearby city, it will give a substantial growth of 250,000 tonnes per annum more for next twenty years. All the products are being transported through the local village road in lorries of 30 tonnes payload. By improving the condition of the road and engaging more efficient and faster lorries of higher capacity (say 50 tonnes) a bigger market area can be covered and we could reach up to 50 kms from the location of the quarry to further increase the growth of 250,000 tonnes per annum.
Considering the market potential the plan required to increase the profitability of the quarry and to retain its long term viability focuses primarily on the following aspects:
Technology – Changes in technologies in the past seventy years have brought substantial changes in both production and consumption in the world. In quarries also, use of modern technology has increased the production multiple times without increasing the production cost. Modern and advanced technologies are being used for the production of aggregates everywhere in the world now including comparatively under developed countries in Asia and Africa. Aggregates of different sizes are being used substantially in all construction and civil engineering works where use of modern technology is quite evident. With the growing need of the new residential and business complexes, roads, bridges, etc. need for aggregates has also increased substantially and the growing need cannot be met by the production done by old technology. Introduction of new technology may need huge investment in the beginning but in the long run this is only the viable step to increase the production multiple times and reduce the production cost. The desired profitability can only be achieved by use of advanced technology for the production of aggregates. Glamstone is using the existing technology for past twenty years and now it needs to be replaced at once to match with the growing needs and profitability.
Machinery- Adequate and desired results cannot be achieved by implementing the advanced technology but introduction of new, advanced and innovative machines are equally important. In other words new technology has no meaning without new machinery. The machineries being used at Glamstone quarry are old and outdated and they need replacement instead of over hauling. New equivalent machines available in the market are more efficient and cost saving. The quarry is over manned because of this old machines and technology only. The present strength of 30 employees produce only 500,000 tonnes per annum against the benchmark production of 750,000 tonnes with 30 employees. The quarry should produce 2,250,000 tonnes per annum with the existing strength of the employees which doesn’t seem viable with the present machinery and technology. Even if this production level is achieved this will not be viable because the existing market consumes only 500,000 tonnes per annum and presently we have plan to expand our market potential to reach up to consumption of 1,000,000 tonnes per annum. This means the work force should be reduced t 12 to 15 employees and for rest of others it is recommended to give some compensation or engage on some different propositions. For example, they can be trained to drive new lorries which we propose in this study to purchase or they can be trained for marketing to explore new markets and the customers for the aggregates.
Conveyor Tube - Many new machines have been introduced recently which are highly useful for the quarry. Since this study proposes for the operations in the South quarry it is very important to mention the utility of a new machine which will solve most of the problems which are coming across the operations in the South quarry. That new machine is conveyor. After the operations are started in the South quarry the biggest problem which will come across will be the transportation of aggregates. The modernization process includes construction of conveyor line from the South quarry to the loading point to avoid the unwanted traffic on the single road to the village. Nw a days pipe conveyors are available in the market instead of traditional belt conveyors and they are secured and pollution free as transportation of aggregates results to a lot of noise and dust. This conveyor pipes are similar to old traditional belt conveyors and they have identical lading points, drive and tail heads but they are different in their shape. After the material is loaded to this conveyor its belt are folded around it giving it a tubular shape. The complete enclosure of the tube prevents it from any sort of leakage of the material or any outside contamination and this can travel both horizontally and vertically and it can also run along winding ways or any barriers or structures coming on the way. This system guarantees cleanliness along the path and it allows transportation in both directions. It will surely reduce the traffic load on the single road to the village and it will also reduce the dust emission in the surrounding area.
Benefits of conveyor – Introduction of conveyor will benefit in following manner:
After crushing is done at the South quarry the aggregates can be transported to the loading point with reduced fuel consumption (50-60%) and hence reduced pollution due to reduced fuel consumption. The dust emission due to transportation of aggregates will come to zero. The traffic load and the related problems like air and noise pollution, congestion in traffic, vibration will also be reduced substantially.
It is expected that the local community will surely face problems due to operations in the South quarry. There are other options also but this is the most suitable option.
Presently the lorries used at the quarry have the payload capacity of thirty tonnes and they are not very efficient. With this service we are able to operate within a radius of 30 kms only. If we use new advanced lorries with payload capacity of at least fifty tonnes we can reach the distance of 50 kms. A bigger market will bring more business for the quarry and we would be able to meet our target of producing 1,000,000 tonnes per annum if we are able to deliver them to a more distant place than now. The adjoining redevelopment plan by the waterside of the nearby city has the capacity to consume 250,000 tonnes per annum. These objectives can only be achieved if faster services are provided with more capacity.
Production can only be increased after starting operations in the South quarry and there are several barriers in the starting operations there. The first barrier is the transportation. There is only one road which runs between both North and South quarries and that road is the local bus road to the village also. The company has to use the road in any case but in the present circumstances it is not possible. For using the road for transportation there are few options:
a. To build a tunnel under the road – cost £ 540,000
b. To close the road and build a bridge for the local community – cost £ 220,000
c. To use conveyor from South quarry to the loading point – Cost £ 670,000
Out of the three options mentioned above, the second option is obviously will be the most favorable option for the Glamstone because it is cost effective but at the same time this is the option which will face maximum opposition from the local community. The third option is costly but is the best option and the cost incurred can be recovered in the long run by saving recurring transport expenses and protecting environment.
Expansion- Since the life expectancy of the North quarry where Glamstone is operating presently is only four years the company is left with no option than to start its operations in the adjoining South quarry. The estimated mineral reserve at the South quarry is more than ten million tonnes it will last for further few years. This expansion plan has some obstacles which should be taken into consideration first before moving ahead. The first obstacle will be the increase in the loading and haulage costs to crusher which may be 20-25%. The second obstacle will be the link road between the North and the South quarry which is the only bus route to the village. Without finding a permanent solution for the same any expansion plan is out of question.
1949 Environment- The impact of quarrying on the environment of Pendle is same as it is at other places. The environment of the area close to a quarry gets affected by the noise, dust, vibrations and other pollutions. Glamstone quarry is not an exception and the people living in the village Pendle and other adjoining area of North quarry are highly concerned with these problems. These are the problems with no solution but a little extra care can minimize it to a tolerable extent. For example, if conveyor tube is used for the transportation of the aggregates these problems could be minimized to a great extent. Starting operations at the South quarry will obviously have objections from the local community as it means more problems to them. It means more noise, more air pollution and above all more traffic on the single bus road to the village. With a proper and considerable thought and plan these obstacles can be overcome and the operations at the South quarry can be started.
Local Community- The Glamstone quarry has been operating in village for past twenty years and the villagers and the residents in surrounding areas have adjusted more or less with the associated problems of a quarry. Though they have made a community liaison group to negotiate with the management of the quarry if any problem comes across there are some problems which permanently exist and there is no remedy to them. Air pollution and noise pollution are the permanent pollution. Un-sheeted lorries carrying aggregates deposit large amount of dust on their houses and gardens. There is only a single road to the village which is used by the children also. The heavy traffic on this road can add more problems to their life. They have already started a campaign to stop the super quarry. Many people who work in the quarry live in the village and the adjoining areas.
For starting operations in the South quarry Glamstone will need to take local community into confidence. These people have some basic needs and requirements and they needed to be taken care of. Since the only road to the village is to be used by Glamstne for its operations in the South quarry the people are needed to be convinced for the plan Glamstone is going to execute. Allthe options must be discussed with the villagers and the local community about how will their life proceed without much disturbance. Besides this there are some requirements like building a bridge over the road for the children to provide them easy access to the school( this may cost around £50,000), building a footpath from the housing area to the road crossing, repairing the community centre and sports club of the village. They can also be convinced that after the operations stop in North quarry there will be huge job opportunity for the villagers for filling and developing the land. It can also be discussed with them that Glamstone might opt for conveyor fr transportation to minimize the pollution.
For preparing this proposal the critical path analysis (CPA) was adapted because of the role it plays for the planning and implementation of the strategy of an operation. This is the mechanism which helps in managing improvements, targeting objectives of performance, restructuring and setting layouts and machinery and evaluating resources required for all the implementation process. As per critical path analysis the tasks which are needed to be done at once without any delay for modernization of the Glamstone quarry to make it viable and profitable in the long run have been given priority in this proposal. Starting operations in the South quarry with advanced technology and latest machinery and taking care of a lot of factors like good transportation, healthy environment and local community will surely yield profit to the company and the project is viable.
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