Castella Quarries

By on September 30, 2015
Cover Photo - Castella Quarries

DREW PHILLIPS, Managing Director and owner of Castella Quarries, provides an insight into the development of his family business and its future in the extractive industry.

“Our mission is to provide high quality products that conform to VicRoads specifications,” a bold statement for a first generation quarry owner. But one which the current generation of the Phillips family is looking to uphold.

Frank Phillips purchased the 225 acres Greenfield Castella block which was next door to the closed CSR Quarry operation at a public auction in the 1980’s. He intended to run cattle on the block until such time as he was able to obtain a permit to open a quarry. Almost seven years later the permit to quarry was granted.

The quarry site is approximately 645 metres above sea level. This provides a working temperature from below Zero degrees Celsius in winter to 50 degrees Celsius in summer. Rainfall can vary depending on the season from 70ml per day in winter to drought in summer.

Frank and his son Grant commenced road access and haul road construction in January 1997. This was completed by December 1997. On the 2nd of January 1998 Castella Quarries was opened for business. Drew, Frank’s younger son joined the business in 2000, as the Quarry Manager.

The quarry started with an old D8 CAT dozer, an excavator and two dump trucks in order to establish a safe and stable pad and foundations for initial plant configuration. The original Primary Plant installed had a Jaques jaw crusher, a 12 x 4 Jaques screen made in approximately 1963. A Vickers Ruwolt Horizontal Impactor made in the 1950’s, a Symonds 3ft. cone also made
in the 1950’s and the newest piece a Jaques 12 x 4 x 3 made in the 1970’s producing a whopping 100 tonnes per hour.

We now swear by two Sandvik cones, four assorted screens with a 20 x 8 cedarapids soon to be installed, a VSI and the same jaw for the moment. We now can produce 350 TPH and expect to increase to 450 TPH in the near future with some minor alterations.

SITE PHOTO: New Pugmill at Castella Quarries.

SITE PHOTO: New Pugmill at Castella Quarries.

The first year was spent producing class 4 products. After exposing some decent blue deposit, we were able to produce class 3 and concrete Aggs; it took five years from 1998 to be able to produce a class 2 product. We now cater for class 1 Crushed Rock, Sealing Aggs, Landscape Rocks and Fill. We have approximately 38 standard products without the wet mix or cement treated applications.

The rock type is a Metamorphic Hornfels deposit; which is broken into two layers, weathered and fresh. The fresh Hornfels attributes are fine grained, very hard, high strength and wear resistant. These properties ensure performance satisfaction in road construction and sealing, concrete structural construction or any situation requiring a high quality, strong, durable material. It ranges in colour from blue, grey to black.

The fresh layer produces sealing aggregate, concrete and drainage aggregates, Class 1-2 and 3, crushed rock road base, decorative walling stone, spalls and Castella toppings. The weathered layer produces, 40-75 NDCR crushed rock, rubbles, beaching rock, B grade aggregates, and fill.

In 2007 Grant left the family business, leaving Frank his wife Shirley and Drew running the show. Whilst in 2009 the devastating bushfires that tore through Victoria on Black Saturday 7th February badly affected the quarry and the adjoining cattle farm.

“It burnt about 80 per cent of our pasture and perimeter fencing – it’s pretty hard to burn rock and steel so we were pretty lucky in that regard.“ Drew said.

It took about two and half months to get the business going again after the fires; three main jobs were lost due to the involuntary 10 day shutdown which effected turnover and sales.

We were fortunate the North South Pipeline went through our area which provided an invaluable source of income. Other featured projects include the Yarra Glen Bypass and Eastlink where the quarry provided feature rocks for the bridge abutments for a good ten months.

SITE PHOTO: View from Castella Quarries

SITE PHOTO: View from Castella Quarries

60 Seconds with a voting member . . . 

What is your name? Justin Collins.

Justin Collins - Site Supervisor - Castella Quarries.

Justin Collins – Site Supervisor – Castella Quarries.

Who do you work for? Castella Quarries.

How many years have you worked for this business? 2 years.

How many years have you been involved in the industry? 15 Years

What is your role at the company? Site Supervisor.

What does your job involve? Oversee the day to day operations of the quarry including the crushing plant, maintenance and supervision of staff.

What is the best part of your job? Being involved in a variety of tasks, each day there are different jobs to be done.


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