The Hitachi excavator is the largest of its kind in Belgium, it’s not only helping to enhance productivity on the 30 hectare site, but is also a key part of the company’s environmental efforts.
CBR is part of the Heidelberg Cement Group, which has seven production facilities located in the Benelux countries, including the Lixhe plant, which makes 1.6 million tonnes of cement annually. It is situated along the banks of the Albert Canal supplying raw materials by the nearby quarries of Romont and Loën.
Romont was opened in 1974 to exploit the marl deposits, which consist of a lime-rich mudstone with variable amounts of clay and silt. The current licence expires in 20 years, but CBR is shortly hoping to extend this agreement for another 40 years. The total layer of aggregate materials extends to an area of 550 hectares, with 230 million tonnes of chalk available for extraction.
The project is entirely situated on high-quality farmland. The site’s biodiversity is the subject of biological studies and areas of ecological interest are already present and will be partially maintained. The final goal is to restore a landscape of high agricultural quality and richer in natural elements than it was prior to its exploitation as a quarry.
In addition, CBR considers its immediate environment by employing direct digging over blasting. The site’s close vicinity to the village of Eben-Emael, licence restrictions for quarrying the area and the demand for separated materials also contribute to this method of extraction and the decision to invest in a new ultra-large excavator.
Johan Duplessis is one of the EX1900-6 operators and this is the first Hitachi that he has operated during his career. His first impressions are positive: “It is smooth to operate, the controls are user friendly and within easy reach. The loading cycle is fast and this is a powerful piece of equipment for this quarry. I also like the air conditioning in the cab!”