Quarrying is beginning to see a resurgence.
The industry was particularly hard hit following the construction slump, as the demand for aggregates and sandstone dropped rapidly.
However, as the mining boom gathers in speed the need for civil construction on site and infrastructure is fuelling new growth.
Boral has been acquiring and reviving quarries in North West Queensland, while in Central Queensland and New South Wales' Central West quarries have been expanding.
And it's not just confined to the major mining states, in Victoria Northern Quarries have also achieved an Australia first by purchasing the country's first Terex TL310 wheel loader.
The quarry, which extracts Class 1, 2, and 3 crushed rock for road construction, as well as commercial grade crushed rock for roads and buildings sub-base explained that it had to expand its capabilities.
"We needed to upsize our tool carrying capability, as our small tool carrier wasn't large enough to act as a backup sales loader when needed," Northern Quarries manager – extractive, Wayne Deken, said. The TL130 handles capacities of between 3 and 6.5 cubic metres with a bucket breakout force of 15 664 kilograms.
It is powered by a 149kW Cummins Tier 3 turbocharged diesel engine.
A hydrostatic drive allows it to travel at 40 kilometres per hour, while also working as a wear free brake.
The TL310 has an operating weight of 17 tonnes and tipping loads of 13 tonnes straight and 11.5 tonnes when articulated.
Deken said it chose the TL 310 wheel loader as "the TL310 is a larger machine and is capable of loading trucks a lot quicker for those times when one of the other loaders are being serviced or out of action.
"We were satisfied with the performance and support for our other Terex equipment, so we felt confident being the first to take delivery of the TL310 in Australia.
"Our TL310 wheel loader is primarily used for tool carrying, including a forklift, jib, and numerous other jobs around the quarry that always keep this type of machinery fully deployed," Deken said.
For easy forklift operation the loader has a frame with TSP kinematics, which combines power at the bucket with parallel handling of the bucket and loader equipment over the entire lifting height.
He went on to say that the wheel loader's high lifting height capacity, for its size and weight, had made it attractive.
"This was highlighted with the use of the Construction Material Processors Association's (C.M.P.A) 'Advisory Pre-Purchase Checklist for Loaders' and meant we didn't have to outlay the additional cost for a larger loader."
Safety was also a concern on site.
The cab has a removable ROPS/FOPS steel frame and provides high rear visibility through the large, tinted windows.
A wire screen installed in front of the high volume cooler protects the operator from dust and debris, while the fan is automatically able to switch to 'reverse' to help clean out the system.
On top of this, the air intake is located in a dust free zone behind the driver's cab.
It also has simple operator controls.
"A joystick sites on the right hand side of the arm pad, so selection of forward and reverse just involves flicking a switch left and right.
"This means the operator always has one hand on the joystick and another on the steering wheel."
The loader has as standard versa steering mode (which allows for easier operation in applications requiring multiple steering movements) and automatic self locking differentials on both axles for better traction on poor ground.
It also has a rear axle oscillating function.
"The machine's stability is very good, as the hydrostatic drive has enabled the engine to be positioned at the back.
"This counterweight effect results in good side stability and enables all wheels to remain in positive ground traction, even with a full bucket load."