The South Australian Young Members Network (YMN) recently organised an event on the 29th April where members and associates had the opportunity to look into two key business within the South Australian Construction materials industry, that being Boral’s Linwood Quarry and Topcoats Asphalt plant at Lonsdale.  Each site has recently completed major project works, which presented an opportunity to the YMN to look further into these projects and their learnings from it.  

After a long break between YMN event’s due to COVID restrictions, it was excellent to finally schedule another event for our YMN members and associates to catch up. With eight members in attendance, the day began at Boral’s Linwood quarry. Here we met with Josh McLachlan (Project manager) and Roger Ward (Linwood Quarry Manager) who were able to show us over their recently completed new entrance way road project, and then provide us with a tour through their quarry site. Josh began the morning by giving us all a great explanation and overview of the new entrance road project, and how the project was a considerable undertaking for the site, that has bought with it many benefits including internal quarry traffic efficiencies and excellent community safety benefits. Improvements in community safety were high on the achievement list from the project, with some of the main goals being to minimise heavy vehicle interactions on local roads, by connecting the quarry and all associated vehicle movements including heavy and light vehicles directly with the main road network. This has immediately reduced traffic on local community roads, exposing the community to less impacts associated with truck movements and transport noise. The project also consisted of installing a new dual weighbridge, truck wash, and weighbridge/entrance office, which has helped to streamline traffic movement’s and improve their traffic management plan across site. Overall the new entrance road was a great and long awaited project for the Linwood site, which now stands as an excellent prelude to the quarry site amidst a very busy metropolitan area.

Moving on from the road project Josh and Roger took the group on a tour through the quarry, explaining the in’s and out’s of their operation and obligingly answering any of the questions that we had. Of most interest was the Quarry development plan and the future in which the site will take part in the many decades to come supplying strategic resources into the valuable construction materials market. This subject raised and led to some interesting discussion topics with the members through the day. A Huge thank you to Josh and Roger for playing host for the morning and allowing the IQA YMN to hold an event on their site.

The next stop on the days schedule was Topcoat’s Asphalt plant at Lonsdale. Here we were met by General Manager, Kelly Manning. Kelly explained that the site has been operational for a little under two years, and has helped to grow Topcoats operations and offerings in SA, by positioning this new plant to better service customers in the south of Adelaide. The asphalt plant has capacity to produce a variety of speciality hot mix products, which is not commonly seen in other asphalt plants in Australia. Speciality mixture includes crumbed rubber mix, which under a partnership with Tyreccycle, supply the rubber from collected end of life tyres and conveyor belts. Other specialty mixes were also discussed, such as use of recycled asphalt, and Kelly was able to explain how the use of recycled materials and other unconventional materials are handled in the plant, what impacts and considerations it has on mix designs, and their quality control systems put in place to ensure material meets required customer specifications.  We were able to climb to the top of the asphalt plant, see the structure up close, while Kelly explained in great detail the finer workings of the asphalt plant. All attendees were very grateful for the very personalised tour that Kelly was able to offer us, and all took a lot away from the opportunity.


The final leg of the tour, saw the YMN head to the St Francis Winery function centre for lunch and a fantastic chance to network.  The day was an informative day, allowing members and associates to look closer into two key businesses within the construction materials industry. Thank you to Boral and Topcoat for hosting tours across their sites, and providing our YMN attendees with some valuable learnings from their projects.