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Rock solid business opportunity comes up as two quarries go on the market for sale

River Run Products, trading as Barton Quarries, was set up four to five years ago by experienced husband and wife team Brian and Greta Withers at 1241 Otorohanga Road to provide products used for roading, races, drainage fill, construction, landscaping and concrete blocks.

A secondary site at Rangiatea Road, alongside the Waipa River is also in operation and has graded river stone which is used to supply exposed aggregate and landscape supplies.

The Otorohanga Road site supplies hard rock and rubble and operates from 30 hectares of freehold land leased from a farmer for 40 years. A two kilometre truck access road has been formed to the quarrying site. The Rangiatea road site is not open to the public and is the river pebble base of supply.

The business is being marketed by sale by tender closing on November 1 through Bayleys Waikato salespeople Mike Swanson and Alex ten Hove.

Mr. Swanson said the business has relevant consents from the Otorohanga District Council and Environment Waikato. “The required consents to operate the quarries are in place and a large inventory of plant and machinery have been built up for their operation.”

Additional consents to widen the entrance to the Otorohanga Road site and establish a wheel wash to eliminate dust and quarry material from being transferred to the roads, have been granted and built.

A petrological test report is available on the texture, composition and quality of the greywacke stones and the extent of the land that can be quarried.

“Only an experienced operator knows what type of land is suitable for quarrying and to do these tests determining the type of stone or rock that is available,” Mr Swanson said.

The company dry mines at both sites but only its Otorohanga Road property is open to locals and the wider market selling quarry stone and material, which are used as the basis for high-strength and decorative concrete and crushed and natural ‘fruit salad’ river stones for gardening use, pebbles, chips, base course and pit sand.

Mr Swanson said a new owner could easily upscale the operations to extract more stones. “There is room for more already consented truck and trailer journeys per day so additional extraction will not be an issue and it would enhance the business.”

Operations at the sites for predominantly unwashed high-strength rock include stripping to remove waste rock, vegetation and soil, quarrying the bedrock using heavy machinery and limited use of explosives, excavation of broken rock which is either stockpiled or transported to the plant for further crushing and screening, grading and eventual sale.

Under the license once the quarries have reached the end of their useful life the land will be rehabilitated by filling the quarry floors, reseeding the area to return it to productive pasture. Trees will also be planted at the Otorohanga Rd site.

“The business is being sold as a going concern along with motor vehicles, truck and trailers, plant and machinery, including excavators, a forklift, hydraulic scoop, tandem roller, water pumps, wheeled loaders, crushing and screening equipment and transportable buildings/containers.

“A new owner could take over the business immediately, increase its operations and reap the benefit of the long license and resource consents for operating extensive quarrying,” Mr Swanson said.

Quarrying is sometimes not all about extracting stones. When Mr Withers was clearing topsoil for dry mining river metal about 100 metres from the banks of the Waipa River eight kilometers east of Otorohanga in 2002, the digger struck what he thought to be a tree.

The parallel sides made Mr Withers realise it was not just a lump of wood. and he proceeded to carefully clear more sand away, revealing the 11.8 metre unfinished waka, the first partially constructed Waka in New Zealand to be uncovered and helping to discover some techniques of construction.

Archaeologists quickly cordoned off a 12 x 3.5 metre area, allowing the dry mining work to continue. Mr Withers sprayed water over the waka twice a day to stop the timbers drying too quickly and cracking. Members of the local iwi erected a protective shelter of scaffolding and tarpaulins while the team worked on the site.

The waka is now housed in a purpose-built house beside the Otorohanga Museum.

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