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Cobra Equipment Sales supplies amphibious excavator

Specialist services company XR3 has purchased a Shantui amphibious excavator from Cobra Equipment Sales to support its hydraulic mining operations

As the services and product deployment arm of the broader Xenco group, XR3 combines experienced onsite personnel with the right equipment, services and products to deliver agile, rapid response solutions to their clients.

With a team boasting extensive expertise across diverse industries, XR3 specialises in providing tailored solutions that enhance business efficiencies and drive commercial success.

XR3 supplies rapid response and fit for purpose solutions for each business’ specific requirements. Its range of expertise includes hydraulic mining, dewatering solutions, amphibious excavation, industrial services and a wide selection of industrial products.

XR3 also undertakes hydraulic mining contracts, such as recovering waste from tailings dams for reprocessing.

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Right now, XR3 operations manager Michael Hyde says the company is reclaiming coal tailings at an operation in Central Queensland, which means it will be recovering coal for steel production that otherwise would have been left in the waste dam.

“After the mining process, you’ve dug materials up and put it through processing plant that separates out the materials that can be sold from the rest,” he says.

“The waste product at the end comes out like a sludge or a slurry. This is then pumped into a dam to settle and let the water drain out of it.”

With the tailings dam material presenting unique challenges around how to safely operate heavy machinery on unstable, sludgy ground,  XR3 recently called on the expertise of Cobra Equipment Sales, which has provided the ideal solution – a Shantui SE305LCW amphibious excavator.

Mining operation

Hyde says that the site requires the excavator to get into places that other standard machines can’t.

“We are operating on a tailings dam, which is essentially the partially dried remains of a reject slurry so there are some restrictions on the equipment that can operate on it,” he says.

“The amphibious excavator will be able to give us more flexibility to access wet areas to help cleaning and set up in tailings dams.

“This model was of particular interest to us because it is mounted on pontoons, which essentially allows it to float on water,” Hyde says.

Cobra Equipment Sales imported the 48,200kg excavator specifically for XR3. Image: Cobra Equipment Sales

While the amphibious excavator might not be used to float on pure water in this operation, Hyde says this capability can be a handy asset.

“The idea for us is to have a low-ground pressure machine that can move on loose materials and get into places other excavators can’t.”

With pricing also being an important factor for XR3 when deciding on an amphibious excavator model, the Shantui SE305LCW stood out for value for money, with Cobra Equipment Sales offering a cost-effective machine compared to other brands, Hyde says.

Cobra Equipment Sales

Based in Brisbane, Cobra Equipment Sales is an authorised dealer and distributor of Shantui equipment, importing it from China. Established in 2005, Cobra has long focused on high quality Chinese manufacturing – partnering with Shantui since 2018, which it says is the world’s largest manufacturer of bulldozers.

When XR3 called with an inquiry about an amphibious excavator, Cobra Equipment Sales imported the 48.2 tonne (48,200kg) machine specifically for Hyde’s team.

“We wanted to show XR3, as well as our other customers, that we can do orders that are a little bit out of the box,” Cobra Equipment Sales founder George Nason says.

Nason says larger companies will tend to focus on standard earthmoving machinery, but with Cobra Equipment Sales being a smaller operation, this gives it the capability to diversify into different areas.

“We’ve always been able to tailor to customer needs and if they want something unique we can source the specific equipment to meet their requirements,” he says.

After liaising with XR3, Cobra Equipment Sales brought in the 2024 model amphibious excavator to work in the wet mining operation.

Nason says the Shantui SE305LCW can be used in a range of different applications, particularly those with waterlogged land.

The amphibious excavator is mounted onto pontoons, allowing it to operate in wetland areas. Image: Cobra Equipment Sales

“Lots of these machines have been used to clear marshland or used for drainage,” he says.

“They can move through mud easily, virtually float on water, dig channels to drain areas and are also able to clean waterways out.”

He adds that amphibious excavators are a rare sight in Australia, so the new Shantui will stand out on the dam.

“You would see a lot more of these amphibious excavators in Asia because there are a lot more low-lying marshlands,” he explains.

Shantui specialist

When asked what separates the machine from other amphibious excavators, Nason says it comes down to the quality and cost-effectiveness of the Shantui brand.

“Most of the other big excavator companies have their own amphibious excavator but they’ll probably be three times the price of the Shantui models,” Nason says.

“The Shantui amphibious excavators are much more cost-effective and provide the same quality as the other competing brands.”

Focusing on selling quality machines, he says that Shantui is an example of a premium brand being exported from China.

“Sometimes imported products lack in quality, but we stand behind the Shantui brand and its durability for Australian customers.”

Cobra Equipment Sales backs every machine with a warranty and prides itself on supplying high level ongoing aftersales support.

“If anybody has a problem, we don’t make a fuss, we just fix it,” Nason says.

For more information about the Shantui SE305LCW amphibious excavator, visit or call (07) 3379 9419.

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