The transfer and transport of rock is what sets efficient, profitable quarries apart from those that are not. When you move rock from the source point to its final destination, it takes manpower and machinery to do so quickly and effectively; and without either, significant delays in the processing and production of aggregate may occur.
The method of transportation will depend upon the exact type of raw material (in this case, rock) and the weight or amount you need to move. Other factors include the location of your quarry—is it near rails, roads, or water. The source location may limit or provide additional forms of transportation. Specific types of rock may also require special consideration when moving, such as slate due to the risk of cracks and breaks during travel.
Common types of rock include:
• Sand and gravel aggregate
Getting rock from point A to point B requires a system designed to expedite the process and make loading and unloading manageable. This is why conveyor systems are essential in mines, quarries, and any location where raw material is excavated.
The conveyor system
If your mined rock isn’t remaining at the quarry, you’ll need to get it from there to its final destination. Conveyor systems allow companies to move rock from mines, quarries, and other source locations to where they’ll be stored or processed further.
Once you decide how you will be transporting your rock, whether by rail, water, or truck, you’ll need an appropriate conveyor system to transfer the aggregate onto its transport. The type of system again depends on the type, quantity, and weight of the rock. There are several types of conveyor systems available to make the task easier.
Radial stacker: A cost-effective solution that lets you create stockpiles of rock or fine aggregate to reduce processing time. Radial stackers can load large trucks or cars with material with ease.
Overland conveyor: Capable of transferring up to 15,000 tons an hour, overland conveyors move rock above ground over long distances, across flat terrain or up and down hills. This system is ideal for moving a large quantity of rock to be processed or to its transport.
Railcar loading/unloading conveyor: These conveyors rely on vacuum or pressure systems to continuously load and transfer raw material. The railcar conveyor is ideal for maintaining a constant flow of rock, at high rates, and over long distances. This can be an incredibly convenient and efficient means of moving rock if your quarry has access to a rail.
Barge loading/unloading conveyor: This conveyor system is necessary if you’re using boats and freights to transport rock. Like the railcar system, this conveyor moves raw material to and from boats with ease. They can be combined with overland and stockpiling conveyors, too, to reduce heavy-equipment fuel charges while also achieving the highest stockpiling height possible.
Moving rock by truck
Trucks are perhaps the most common mode of transportation for quarry and construction companies forced to move rock. Trucks are easy to load and are capable of dumping loads at the final destination without assistance. The size and scale of trucks accommodate a range of weight and size requirements, making them a versatile and effective transport. They can move rock anywhere there is a road.
Haul trucks, in particular, are a large type of truck able to move rock between conveyor belts, stockpiles, and even the jaw crusher of a plant.
Depending on their size, make, and model, trucks can haul anywhere from 1,500 lbs. up to around three and a half tons.
Move rock by water
For quarries with access to navigable waterways, rivers become an option for moving rock. Hoppers and flat deck barges can both accommodate rock and other aggregate, with hopper barges capable of holding up to 1,700 tons of raw material.
When quarries are located near train rails, they can make use of rail shipping. Moving rock by rail is often more economical than by truck. This method is ideal for transporting raw material to parts of the country with limited local, natural stone resources or significantly low-quality stone product. When moving rock and aggregate by rail, material can be loaded into 100-ton bottom dump hopper cars, a single car, or in gondolas.
Remember that size of the rock is a variable in deciding how you may want to move your material as slab and aggregate will require different conveyors and forms of transport. How you move your rock from A to B ultimately depends on the scale of your operation. Efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and distance/process time are all factors you’ll want to consider during the decision-making process.