Industry Highlight | A Look into the Quarry Industry

a look into the quarry industry

Industry Highlight: A Look into the Quarry Industry

What is Quarrying?

Quarrying is an industry that’s been around for centuries on earth—Essentially since the very beginning. During the Stone Age, one of man’s very first innovations was learning to chip away limestone for making tools like hammers, hand axes, and cutting instruments. Quarrying is essentially the process of extracting natural resources from the earth—Which in modern-day, are used often in the construction industry.

So, what’s a quarry? A quarry, sometimes known as a surface mine, open pit or opencast mine, is the section of earth that the minerals are being extracted from. Quarries produce a range of useful materials like limestone, dimension stone, rock, sand or gravel. These raw materials are used in the foundations of our homes, schools, hospitals, roads and so much more! Nearly two-thirds of all the stone produced in Canadian quarries is crushed and used for concrete and asphalt aggregates.

The image below, created by The Institute of Quarrying, illustrates what a typical quarrying process may look like:

quarrying process

As you can see, quarrying involves many different steps, each involving a different team of professionals and different tools/ machinery. And, of course, this process will look different depending on the material being produced. However, putting the most common practice simply – They begin by digging a pit to access the deposit, and create a vertical face of exposed rock. Then, large chunks are dislodged from the walls, usually through controlled blasting using explosives. This rock is then crushed, impurities are removed and the resulting materials are graded by size before being stockpiled. The materials are then transported by road, rail or sea for use!

What do Quarries Produce?

Like we mentioned, quarries produce a wide variety of natural materials that make up a lot of the build-up world around us. The principal types of stone quarried in Canada are limestone, granite, sandstone, and marble. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia limestone accounts for 79% of the total material quarried in Canada, the largest single material export by far.

Quarries are also known to produce:

  • Gypsum
  • Salt
  • Potash
  • Coal
  • Chemical Grade Limestone
  • Common Clay’s
  • China Clay or Kaolin
  • Ball Cays
  • Silica Sand

These materials then feed into many other industries like ready-mixed-concrete plants, coating plants to produce asphalt and bituminous road-making materials, cement and lime burning kilns, concrete block and pipe works, brick works, pottery works, and plaster/plasterboard factories. Quarrying for many industries is the unspoken first step in their processes, providing them with many vital materials.

Quarrying Safely

Significant safety hazards are present in quarries, as you would imagine when working with heavy pieces of rock, explosives, large machinery and the number of moving parts many quarrying cites have (as you can see in the quarrying process photo above). The Mine Safety and Health Administration reports that incidents involving the handling of materials is the highest cause for injuries in quarries/mines.

When it comes to handling heavy materials, it’s important you’re using equipment you can trust to lift the load safely and effectively—That’s where we come in. Hercules SLR is your one-stop-shop for all things securing, yoke hardware hooks eye bolts and shackles lifting and rigging. Our focus is to provide securing, lifting and rigging solutions that allow our customers to get the job done safely and efficiently.

For example, Hercules SLR is a Master Distributor of YOKE rigging hardware—A perfect choice for handling materials in quarrying. Since 1985, YOKE manufactures durable, reliable & high-quality rigging hardware that keeps your load secure, and your team safe. They run a strict production facility, with a huge emphasis on quality control & safety at every stage of the manufacturing process—From raw materials to the finished product for the end-user, with facilities across the globe, in Canada, Los Angeles and China. YOKE is an ISO 9001 certified company with Type-Approval by major international authorities like SABS, ZU, ABS, API, and DNV. YOKE has achieved various certifications that ensure their unsurpassed product engineering.

If you’re looking to bring your material handling safety to the next level, consider taking one of our many Hercules Training Academy courses like the fundamentals of rigging.


Fly Away! Earn Air Miles­® Bonus Miles at Hercules SLR

air miles bonus miles at hercules slr


Time for a getaway? Hercules SLR wants to help! Head into any of our locations across Canada and enter our contest for a chance to win 1000 Air Miles® Bonus Miles. 

Here’s how to enter: 

  1. Head to a Hercules SLR branch (find below) 
  2. Fill out a ballot & drop it in the ballot box
  3. Wait until June 30 and see if we announce your name! 

That’s it—Easy and simple. 

Find Hercules SLR branches in: 

  • Moncton, New Brunswick
  • Saint John, New Brunswick
  • Mount Pearl, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Labrador City, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Wabush, Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Ville Saint-Laurent, Quebec
  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Saguenay, Quebec
  • Brampton, Ontario
  • Hamilton, Ontario
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Leduc, Alberta
  • Langley, British Columbia
  • Sarnia, Ontario



Want 100 Air Miles® Bonus Miles? Spend $300.00 at our Labrador City, Newfoundland location and they’re all yours. 

You work hard, so you need hardworking gear–And you could probably use a getaway, too. Hercules SLR is here to help! We’ve extended our Air Miles Bonus Miles offer, until July 31, 2019


It might be time for some new PPE. Want to know how you can earn extra Air Miles® Bonus Miles? 

Labrador, Newfoundland is notorious for it’s unpredictable weather—Environments like this demand personal protection that’s tough, durable and ready to work—Just like you. 

Work in an industry with tough conditions, like mining? It’s important to have comfortable, yet effective personal protective equipment. Here are some of the personal protective items you should have to work in this environment: 

  • Protective Communication
  • Hearing Protection 
  • Welding Gear (ex. gloves, welding mask)
  • Disposable Respirators 
  • Fall Protection 
  • Hi-Vis Clothing
  • Protective Apparel
  • Reflective Materials 
  • Safety Glasses/Other Protective Eyewear 
  • Reusable Respirators & Parts




(709) 944-3694








Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies. We have a unique portfolio of businesses nationally, with locations coast-to-coast. Hercules Group of Companies provides extensive coverage of products and services that support a variety of sectors across Canada which includes the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, mining and marine industries. 

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Innovation & Technology Rush in the Oil Sands

Oil Sands
Oil sands operators and suppliers alike are trying to find ways to reduce operations costs and cut emissions By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco

Dozens of emerging technologies for almost every facet of oil sands production could be paving the way for solutions to the most significant environmental and operational challenges faced today. In fact, according to a study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), these emerging technologies are establishing a foundation for the industry to reduce its operational costs by 40 per cent and its emissions by up to 80 per cent. There is an innovation rush in Alberta’s oil sands and the impacts could be far reaching.

An innovative environment

“Most of us think of innovation in terms of technology but innovation can happen in lots of different ways,” said Dan Wicklum, chief executive of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), formed in 2012 by 10 oil companies that account for 90 per cent of oil sands production. “The COSIA model itself is probably one of the biggest innovations in the oil sector.”

Instead of treating innovation as a means to gain a competitive advantage, the COSIA companies collaborate in developing new technologies to improve their environmental and operational performance, said Wicklum. They have already shared $1.4 billion worth of intellectual property for some 985 technologies and innovations. Two years ago, COSIA also launched the international US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE for CO2 emission-reduction technologies that can convert CO2 into usable products.

“A good innovation system needs good people, good ideas and good funding, but it also needs the testing infrastructure,” said Wicklum. To this end, COSIA partnered with the federal and Alberta governments to create the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre (ACCTC) in Calgary, which opened in May. Built adjacent to the Shepard Energy Centre, which provides flue gas emissions from a natural gas-fired power plant, the new facility enables innovators with the capabilities to test, refine and scale-up technologies for commercialization that convert CO2 into usable products.

In April, COSIA announced the 10 finalists for the Carbon XPRIZE. Each will receive a US$500,000 award to take their technologies to a commercialization-ready stage. Five of the finalists are focused on gas-based CO2 conversion and will be the ACCTC’s first tenants. (The teams focused on converting coal-based CO2 will go to Wyoming’s Integrated Test Center.) Using CO2, Carbicrete turns steel slag industrial waste into cement-free concrete, CERT creates value-added fuels and feedstocks, Newlight fabricates bioplastics, Carbon Upcycling Technologies builds graphitic nanoparticles and graphene derivatives, and C2CNT manufactures nanotubes. Along with the finalists in Wyoming, they will be scaling up their technologies for commercialization as they compete for one of the two $7.5 million grand prizes, which will be awarded in 2020.


Autonomous haul systems

With oil sands haulage fleets as big as they are, the potential for automation is obvious, but its implementation has demanded creative thinking to contend with the difficult conditions in the region.

For Komatsu, which has worked with Suncor since 2013 on adapting the OEM’s autonomous haulage systems (AHS) that it has rolled out in the Pilbara iron range of Western Australia, the oil sands posed unique challenges, namely the cold winters and the soft underfooting of the ore bodies. Winterizing and the development of a multi-trajectory system to prevent the trucks from damaging the roads resolved the challenges.

Suncor is planning to add 150 AHS units at its oil sands mines over the next six years, starting with the North Steepbank mine. It is not the only oil sands mining company considering the new technology. Canadian Natural Resources is planning a small pilot project for 2019.

Komatsu’s AHS combines autonomous trucks with manned support equipment and shovels. “We have five layers of safety to allow humans to interact with the autonomous trucks,” said Brian Yureskes, director of Komatsu’s business development for the oil sands. “Some of those are virtual layers of safety so the system is able to see and anticipate what humans are doing around the trucks. Some are physical layers such as lasers and radar. The final layer is that every single piece of equipment that is manned and operated in the area has a big red button that, when you push it, stops all the autonomous trucks.”

According to Scott Schellenberg, senior manager of AHS for SMS Equipment, the Canadian distributor for Komatsu, the autonomous technology itself has increased safety. “Humans working around the autonomous haulers can see on their screens where the trucks are and know where they are headed versus with a human driving the truck,” he said.

The digital oil sands

The oil sands are increasingly adopting machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, said Dinara Millington, vice-president of research at CERI. “I’m noticing it’s happening faster now that these technologies have been in the commercial space for a little while,” she said.

Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations, a partnership between Canada’s oil and gas companies and the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance, points to two innovative companies with technologies that have powerful benefits for the oil and gas sector as well as the oil sands. One is Kelvin, which has an artificial intelligence system that has been deployed in BP’s oil and gas fields in Wamsutter, Wyoming. There, hundreds of inexpensive sensors have been installed in the wells where they gather data that is transmitted via the cloud to powerful computers. These identify patterns and form predictions, which are used to create optimization tweaks that are sent back down to the controls in the field.

“The days of one shift coming in and tweaking all the dials is going to go away,” said Reed. “Computers do it better.”

To continue reading this article click here

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLR, Hercules Machining & Millwright Services, Spartan Industrial Marine, Stellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.