Taylors Contracting rock export from Port Tarakohe a triumph of planning and collaboration

Port Tarakohe

Taylors Contracting has successfully completed its first 3,000 tonne rock export from Port Tarakohe to the lower North Island due to careful planning in response to resource consent requirements and site constraints.

Just over 21,200 tonne of rock was extracted from Taylors’ privately-owned Balcks Quarry in just 79 work days to comply with the quarry’s consented three-month annual operating window. A Taylors team of seven people commuted from Nelson to the quarry in Golden Bay Mohua each day to undertake the work.

“To put that volume into context, our Lee Valley quarry would do that volume over a 12-month period to meet an ordinary Taylors rivers’ department supply requirement for a year,” says Taylors Contracting’s Rivers and Quarries Department Manager Ben Burbidge.

The quarry site itself was extremely constrained for space so rock had to be extracted and stored offsite up until extraction from the quarry finished on 15 April. This was exacerbated by the fact that the consent was only for one size range of rock. Everything smaller had to be carted out to an interim dump site. That rock will eventually be put back in the quarry site at the end of the quarry’s life.

“We then spent three weeks carting export rock from stockpiles near the quarry to Port Tarakohe. During that time we were also planning how we would handle the constraints of the loading site at the Port given the multiple users of the wharf space and the challenges of loading the rock barge.”

Taylors was able to work collaboratively with the owners of the barge, Heron Construction, Sollys, and other Port Tarakohe users to load the barge over a two-day time period, with productivity exceeding Taylors’ plan of 120 tonne per hour. Taylors provided a ‘spotter’ on the ground to coordinate communication with all those operating on the site and to ensure that everyone could do their work safely and efficiently.

“Loading was completed at 4:51pm and at 5:10pm the barge was moving away from the wharf,” says Ben. “After a successful crossing of Cook Strait in unfavourable weather conditions the rock was unloaded in Wellington.”

For Ben this job has been a challenging first project as Quarries Department Manager, having accepted the role in addition to his Rivers Department Manager role on his first day back at work in early January.

“I started at Taylors in June 2012 as a junior accountant and I’m now fortunate to be a manager of two departments. The responsiblity for quarries is a crucial one as that department is the engine room of our business. Rock products are a key material in any construction project.”

Ben says that the project has shown him how well the quarries team works together and he was grateful to be able to work alongside retiring quarries manager Neil McKay. “Everybody put in such a huge effort to make this project work, including our truck drivers who put in six-day weeks at the start and coped with such a tight space to operate in at the quarry, especially in the early stages.”

“We are really delighted by the outcome of our rock export project,” says Taylors Contracting CEO, Charlie Taylor. “This is good for Tasman ratepayers as it provides another income stream for Port Tarakohe, which is owned by Tasman District Council. It also provides a boost for local landowners through lease and storage agreements. More importantly it’s an example of innovative problem solving to meet the wider infrastructure needs of our community.

“We know that rock supply is crucial and we will have to work together to find solutions so that we can deliver on all the projects in front of us that require such raw materials.

“Businesses of all sizes have a role to play, and as a small, locally-owned quarry we’ve shown what we are able to contribute to our region and other regions as a rock exporter.”

The next load of export rock is expected to be loaded at Port Tarakohe on 19 May 2024.

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