Volvo Finds a Pearl in the Rough

India’s Pearl Mineral and Mines extracts 1,500m3 of granite a year with a little help from Volvo.

Fri May 22, 2015 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Taking the granite up high.
Taking the granite up high.
Taking the granite up high. A Volvo wheel loader moves the Black Galaxy granite block with ease.

Did you know that granite is the second hardest natural rock after diamond? It owes its hardness and density to the fact that it has solidified deep inside the earth under extreme pressure. Thankfully it doesn’t always stay deeply buried – over time, shifts in the planet’s crust forces veins of granite to the surface, where mankind finds commercial uses for it.

Pearl Mineral and Mines is one of the top producers and exporters of Indian granite, with over half of its produce sold overseas. Located on India’s south-eastern coast, the company’s two Black Galaxy granite quarries are spread over 37 acres of land at Chimakurthy and Andhra Pradesh, with a production capacity of 7,200 m3 a year, ranging from giant blocks to tiny chips. The Green Pearl granite quarry is spread over five acres at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh with a production capacity of 2,400 m3 a year, also ranging in sizes. As the name suggests, Black Galaxy granite has a shiny black finish and Green Pearl varies in darkness with a turquoise and speckled grey tint.

A pearly production

The granite mined from the quarries is then processed at Pearl’s state-of-the-art factory, with its own cutting and processing unit, which has the capacity to produce more than 450,000 m2 of finished stone a year.

Exports have increased significantly over the years, as Pearl continues to send Indian granite to its client base in China, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Ireland, Romania, UAE, Australia and the USA.

The company’s mines have been in operation since 1993 and Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) machines are used for quarrying, loading and transporting granite rock around Pearl’s job sites.

Pearl’s fleet of 15 Volvo machines includes six EC360BLC excavators, eight EC380DL excavators and one L350F-Series wheel loader.

Factory on wheels

“The bigger the machine is, the more we depend on it,” says Mr. Venkata Nagaraja, managing director at Pearl Mineral. “In fact, a big loader like the L350F is like a factory on wheels, where revenue far outweighs the cost. The L350F wheel loader is fast, smooth, stable and lifts almost anything at the mine. It’s a durable loader that handles the toughest jobs and it’s a lot more fuel efficient than other brands of machines in its class.”

The L350F wheel loader is powered by a Tier 3/Stage III Volvo 394 kW turbo diesel engine offering fuel economy, high productivity, reliability and low levels of noise and exhaust emissions. Combined with its engine, strong hydraulics, a Volvo transmission with lock-up and Volvo designed-and-manufactured axles, the L350F is easy and comfortable to operate, leading to fast cycle times and sustained high performance throughout the working day. The operator can enjoy the spacious air-conditioned cab that is insulated from noise, dust and vibrations due to viscous cab mounts and the suspended seat.

Volvo’s excavators also play a pivotal role at the mine. “Power, speed and fuel efficiency, as well as aftermarket support is how I would define the EC380DL and EC360BLC machines,” says Nagaraja. “These machines have it all. The right amount of metal, weight absorption and output. It makes sense to use Volvo. With the help of Volvo CE, top quality Black Galaxy granite is being exported all over the world. Working with Vijay Engineering Equipment, Volvo CE’s local dealer, means we are working with like-minded people. It’s proactive, has Genuine Volvo Parts and ample stock to make our lives easier.”

Peal mining has tried other equipment and found that Volvo machines exceed in performance. Both companies are also passionate about safety and Pearl has received numerous awards for its contribution to the Indian export sector and mining industry. It has also supplied granite to numerous prestigious projects around the world, such as Singapore’s Changi airport, Hongkong’s Clark’s airport hotel and the Lotte department store in South Korea.

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