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Swan Hill innovation transforms topsoil scraping

Three Swan Hill-based businesses — Murray Valley Lasers, Sunrise Ag and Chisholm Earthmoving — have joined forces to develop a new high-capacity solution for the removal and replacement of topsoil in mining operations.

Chisholm Earthmoving Swan Hill holds the contract for the removal and replacement of topsoil at the Cristal Mining mineral sands mine in Pooncarie, about 85 kilometres north of Mildura.

The status quo had always been to tow one of Murray Valley Lasers’ O’Bryan HD Carry Grade scrapers behind a high-horsepower tractor. The loaded scraper would then travel between 500 metres and 1.3km to deposit the soil at its storage site. The topsoil was then returned after the mineral sands had been mined.

However, Chisholm Earthmoving principal Phil Chisholm says he was always looking to improve this process, making it as efficient, economic and fast as possible.

“I reasoned that instead of using one O’Bryan HD scraper and a tractor why not explore the possibilities of using two scrapers in tandem drawn by an even larger horsepower tractor,” Chisholm says.

The three businesses then pooled their expertise to come up with a better way. The result is a combination of two scrapers from Murray Valley Lasers towed in tandem behind a Case IH 600 HD Steiger tractor from Swan Hill Case dealer Sunrise Ag.

Murray Valley Lasers’ Colin O’Bryan, the designer and builder of the O’Bryan HD scraper, says each scraper holds approximately 14 loose cubic metres of topsoil. When the two scrapers are fully loaded, the total weight comes in at about 5.6 tonnes.

O’Bryan says the scraper has been designed in such a way so that when the front scraper is hydraulically raised or lowered it does not affect the level of the second scraper.

Sunrise Ag provided the Case IH 600D Steiger tractor to pull the heavy scrapers. The big unit has a  six-cylinder Iveco 12.9-litre engine and delivers over 600 horsepower (400kW). The tractor drawbar has a carrying load rated at over six tonnes, more than enough to accommodate the two scrapers.

Eight sets of remotes facilitate the coupling of the two scrapers to the machine.

For more information contact Colin O’Bryan at Murray Valley Lasers Swan Hill on (03) 5032 9555 or Phil Chisholm at Chisholm Earthmoving Swan Hill on 0428 500 961.

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