Mibus Bros (Aust) Pty Ltd

By on October 3, 2018

Mibus Bros making regional inroads

Development and maintenance of Australia’s regional infrastructure requires large scale machinery and specialised plant to operate effectively and efficiently. Based in Portland, Victoria, Mibus Bros (Aust) Pty Ltd (Mibus Bros) has been meeting the challenges of road and commercial projects throughout western Victoria and SE South Australia Since 1974.

The family-owned Mibus Bros started in the years after the Second World War when forests were being cleared for migrant settlers to develop for farmland. According to John Weichert, General Manager of Mibus Bros, the business was built on the back of the bulldozer owned by Monty Mibus. “The company branched out from land clearing, dam construction and heavy earthworks into providing the crushed limestone that is used extensively in road construction throughout the region as well as now building roads,” he said.

A primary part of the business is now contract crushing and quarrying work all over regional Victoria and South Australia. A thorough understanding of the requirements of heavy earthmoving, that stems from owning its own quarry, has enabled Mibus Bros to bid for related projects such as overburden removal and quarry rehabilitation.

L to R: John Weichert (general Manager), Lewis Mibus (Director/Senior Works Advisor Crushing), Tim Lang (Manager Quarries, Crushing & Logistics)

L to R: John Weichert (general Manager), Lewis Mibus (Director/Senior Works Advisor Crushing), Tim Lang (Manager Quarries, Crushing & Logistics)

Three brothers, Martin, Andrew and Lewis, from the second generation of the family own the company today and members of the third generation have started learning from the ground up the
intricacies of managing a large industrial company. Key projects for which the materials produced by Mibus Bros have been used include supplying limestone for local logyards and hardstands,
with a current project to supply material and the plant for 200km of road re-sheet work. John said the management is always looking for new opportunities for growth, whilst continuing collaboration with existing clients, local government, quarry and mine operators.

The company recently won its third major contract with Adelaide Brighton Cement LTD for the rehabilitation at Batesford, one of that company’s largest quarries. The quarry has been in operation for over 125 years and the current stage of the project involves shifting over 1 million cubic metres of soil, engineered fill, rehabilitation works, relocation of a road, construction of drainage and installation of top soil. The rehabilitation project is the largest quarry rehabilitation project in Victoria outside of works being carried out at La Trobe Valley coal mines.

Mibus Bros Bridgewater Quarry, Portland

Mibus Bros Bridgewater Quarry, Portland

Since the earliest days of the company, the main change has been in terms of the sophistication of the equipment involved. “While bulldozers have got bigger and quality has improved over time, it is the modern electronic controls of all the equipment that has impacted our business the most,” John stated. “In a crushing train everything can be set up to talk to each other, so a jaw can talk to a cone that in turn can talk to an impactor to ensure an efficient flow of aggregate through the process. In civil works GPS grade control on dozers and graders has had dramatic impact on speed and accuracy of works”.

“One of our biggest challenges has been finding staff,” John said. “We want people who are keen and want to learn. We want operators who can work efficiently and have a good understanding
of overall production requirements.” The company is always on the lookout for people who want to build their skills and who appreciate that operating an excavator, bulldozer or mobile crusher is not something that can be learned in five minutes. Mibus Bros crushing operators start out training in front-end loaders and move on to excavators and bulldozers if they demonstrate the aptitude, which offers diversity and flexibility in a crushing crew and minimizes boredom in the production-driven environment of crushing and screening.

John stated that it has been nearly 13 years since they moved into specialised facilities in Portland, Victoria. “Originally, the company operated out of a workshop on a family farm block,” added John. “At the end of the first decade of the 21st Century they purchased a block in the town and designed a purpose-built workshop from which it services civil, crushing and quarrying contracts for a range of companies, State and Local government departments, developers and other contractors throughout the region.” From this facility, the company operates seventy major
pieces of plant and equipment, including graders, compactors and bulldozer with GPS grade control, scrapers, dozers and rollers, water carts and materials and equipment haulage plant. It operates its own quarries for local supply of construction materials and manages up to three contract crushing crews working across South Australia, Victoria and, at times, New South Wales.

Rehabilitation project at Adelaide Brighton Cement Ltd - Batesford Quarry

Rehabilitation project at Adelaide Brighton Cement Ltd – Batesford Quarry

Mibus Bros’ main areas of operations are within the “Green Triangle” that spans the border area between South Australia and Victoria covering an area of 6 million hectares. Operating from Portland in Victoria the company’s activities have extended to Kangaroo Island, the Barossa Valley, Broken Hill, Shepparton, Kerang and Geelong regions.

Mibus Bros has been a member of the CMPA for six years. The CMPA is an important organisation that has successfully represented to government and industry on a range of issues including rehabilitation, work safety, preferred suppliers and development of an industry reference manual.

“To us, there is little doubt that successive governments have dropped the ball in realising the type and quality of earth products that are required for so many of the infrastructure projects underway and planned,” added John. “There needs to be a partnership between government and industry because at the moment it’s expensive, complicated and frustrating for owners to open new quarries to supply to the projects.”

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