New Alex Fraser crushing plant maximises sustainability outcomes for Melbourne’s north

May 15, 2024

Alex Fraser’s new crushing plant at Epping, Victoria, is taking shape, with the latest addition to the company’s Northern Sustainable Supply Hub to be commissioned in the first half of 2024.

Once completed, the rock crushing plant will process up to one million tonnes of recycled products including incoming paddock rock and Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP). The end-product will feed Alex Fraser’s neighbouring asphalt plant to produce high-recycled sustainable asphalt, containing up to 70 per cent recycled materials.

The $13 million investment will maximise sustainability outcomes for Melbourne’s north, says Peter Murphy, Alex Fraser Managing Director.

“With a recycling network that surrounds Melbourne, we focus on ensuring our capability and capacity matches the market’s needs,” Peter says.

“The crushing plant is on the doorstep of an urban growth corridor, where we’re seeing urban development. It’s the closest large-scale recycling facility to the north of the Melbourne CBD.

“Currently, only a little more than half of all of Melbourne’s construction and demolition (C&D) waste is being recycled and there are many greenfield sites in development in Melbourne’s north where developers are extracting paddock rock and need a responsible way to dispose of it.” 

The new plant will take these extracted materials and process them into recycled materials that can be used at the source site or other infrastructure projects, reducing landfill, and increasing the use of recycled content. 

Peter says the co-located crushing and asphalt plant will further increase capability and accessibility to sustainable products in Melbourne’s north for Victoria’s Big Build, by more than a million tonnes each year. 

He described the Northern Sustainable Supply Hub as a one-stop-shop for customers needing to recycle construction waste such as paddock rock, brick concrete and asphalt profilings, and to source high-recycled construction materials. 

The new plant incorporates advanced technologies geared towards ensuring safety and optimising production efficiencies.

Project managers Kate Lynch and Joe Xerri are supported by Epping Recycling leaders Garry Baker, Andrew Prestage and Nadim Abdallah.

Safety features have improved since the construction of the company’s original plant at the Epping site, which required retrofitting over the years to maintain safety standards. The new plant will incorporate state-of-the-art features such as real-time monitoring systems, automated emergency shutdown protocols, advanced hazard detection technologies, and comprehensive employee training programs. 

The innovations, Peter says, are instrumental in fostering a safe environment while maximising operational efficiency in the plant.

The three-stage crushing plant also boasts features designed to optimise the efficiency and effectiveness of the crushing process, incorporating a robust primary crusher to handle initial raw material processing. 

A secondary crusher refines the material further, followed by a tertiary crusher to achieve the desired product specifications. This systematic approach ensures precision and control in the production process. Additionally, the plant is equipped with cutting-edge automation, sorting components, real-time monitoring systems, and advanced control panels, enhancing overall operational safety and efficiency. 

It’s seen as the next step in Alex Fraser’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure.

“We are already recycling hundreds of thousands of tonnes of concrete and brick with our existing facilities – this new plant will vastly improve our efficiencies in recycling excavated rock from local greenfields projects and asphalt profilings from road redevelopments,” Peter says. 

As part of the Hanson Group of Companies, Alex Fraser’s work is guided by the Group’s Sustainability Charter, which focuses on reducing emissions, innovating circular materials, nature positivity and supporting communities. Peter says that the integration of Alex Fraser’s recycling and production facilities on strategically located hubs further reduces the impact of production and cartage of its Green Roads Construction Materials. 

The reprocessed aggregates will supply the company’s on-site asphalt plant and road base products needed to help customers build greener roads.

Stage two of the project will redefine the way the industry views construction materials.

“This first stage will enable processing of rock for recycled construction materials, ensuring efficiency and minimising waste by incorporating circular principles. 

Stage two will introduce additional cutting-edge processing capabilities to recycle concrete and brick, with the introduction of artificial intelligence and robotics to improve material detection and sorting accuracy and to reduce risk exposure for human pickers.”

To date, Alex Fraser has recovered more than 50 million tonnes of concrete, brick, rock, asphalt and glass to produce high-specification recycled products to build greener roads and rail. 

This article was originally published in Waste Management Review. To read the article there, click here.

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