Former PM to attend opening

by Apeg, February 7, 2013

To register interest in attending the opening day launch at 11 Burlington Place, Rutherford, phone 4932 1399 oremail sale@apeg.net.au

One of the biggest trucks in the world and another of almost equal enormous size, imported from Belarus, are set to impact on the Australian mining industry in a big way after they are unveiled in Rutherford this month.

In one of their first launches in the Western world, the giant BELAZ 360 tonne truck and the BELAZ 240 tonne “next generation” mining truck will be revealed at the grand opening day launch at the Rutherford factory of Australasian Pacific Engineering Group on February 22.

The trucks have been brought to the Hunter by APEG, the sole distributor for BELAZ.

And APEG has appointed Sharps Heavy Equipment Repairs at Rutherford as their sole service and spare parts provider for BELAZ trucks.

Among the dignitaries at the grand opening day launch will be former prime minister John Howard, who has met the president of Belarus and who has many contacts there.

Several Belarussian vehicle technicians and an interpreter were at the APEG factory this week as the huge trucks were being assembled.

The trucks are able to work in temperatures from -50C to more than 50C.

APEG Maitland general manager Shane Halliwell believes this first export by BELAZ could be a milestone – spearheading exports from Rutherford to a range of companies.

“We will market the trucks and sell them; Sharps will maintain them through APEG,” Mr Halliwell said.

He revealed that both trucks provided customers with a choice of two engines and two electric drive systems.

Customers can choose a Cummins or a Detroit diesel engine, with a choice between Siemens or a General Electric drive system.

With one in three mining trucks in the world being a BELAZ, Mr Halliwell believed they would bring strong interest from mining companies.

He also predicted expansion in the Hunter of both APEG and Sharps.

“I expect these vehicles will generate a lot of employment in the Hunter,” Mr Halliwell said.

“There will be a big demand for these trucks with their lower operational and life cycle costs.

“It would not have been possible for this venture to happen without the involvement of APEG.

“This is a big thing for APEG, Sharps and BELAZ to be involved in.”

The cost of bringing the two trucks to Australia was close to $1m, Mr Halliwell said.

The venture was born after Mr Halliwell was approached by APEG to help them evaluate the market for the vehicles.

“These are custom-made trucks produced to work well in some of the harshest mining conditions in the world,” he said.

“Many components in the trucks are in fact all being used in the Australian mining industry now.

“And the way they are produced, they can be manufactured to any mining specifications.

“Usually, in Western countries, buyers get what comes off the assembly lines and they have to modify them to suit their specifications.

“But with these vehicles, it is more about what BELAZ can offer customers that our competitors cannot,” Mr Halliwell said.

“But with BELAZ trucks, a customer can have anything they want installed in them.

” Engines and hand rails can be added on at the site and the 240- tonne truck can be assembled in only four days.

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The BELAZ truck factory is a major part of Belarussian industry, presently employing 14,000 people.

The launch of the two trucks on February 22 will be attended by senior mining company representatives, factory and technical experts, as well as Mr Howard.

A few days later, a special “technical day” is being planned for technicians and engineers to look at the vehicles.

“This has been a big breakthrough in such a short period – both for APEG and for BELAZ,” Mr Halliwell said.

“We have a major customer at the moment who is seriously looking at the 240-tonne model and this might be the first to be sold.

“BELAZ also has a large truck of 500 tonnes, but they haven’t shown it to anybody yet.”

To register interest in attending the opening day launch at 11 Burlington Place, Rutherford, phone 4932 1399 oremail sale@apeg.net.au

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