Excavator a ’Gneiss’ Addition to White Water Quarry Fleet

Wed August 31, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni

LBM Industries Inc., owner of White Water Quarry in Sapphire, NC, has been using a new Hitachi EX1200 front shovel since October to mine toxaway gneiss from the quarry.

Toxaway gneiss is the only material produced from the quarry, which has been in business since 1976. It is used as roadbed material with asphalt and concrete. LBM President Bill McNeely Jr. describes it as “pretty much a granite.”

Kenny Queen, quarry superintendent, has been with the company for 20 years and is impressed with the new machine’s capabilities.

“I’m tickled to death with the machine,” said Queen. “The production — everything about it.”

Previously, Queen was using a large wheel loader and a Hitachi 700, which he called “super,” but he admits he likes the Hitachi EX1200 much better. The new Hitachi replaced those two machines and increased production at the quarry from 100 loads a day to 175 to 180 loads. It also has helped with keeping the surge pile full by reducing refill time to 8 hours from 10 to 12 hours. The machine averages 40 hours a week at the quarry.

“It is the best piece of equipment for this type of work,” said Queen. “The wheel loader couldn’t do it.”

Queen added that the operator is also very happy with the machine. He said, “It’s like sitting in your living room” because it is so comfortable in the cab.

McNeely has two sons who grew up in the business. In addition to LBM Industries and the White Water Quarry, the family manages several other businesses: McNeely Trucking Co., Toxaway Concrete Inc., and a Bobcat rental dealership.