Peter Van Iersel, managing director of Longwall Associates Australia, said: “From the beginning, this process has been very extensive and meticulous. I have been eager for months to reach the final stages of construction. Now that the facility is complete, operations will commence rapidly.
“The decision by U.S. based Longwall Associates to form Longwall Associates Australia, establishing a sister company, in and of itself was regarded as a tremendous move for the U.S. company and the Australian Longwall industry,
“The decision to build a facility in Mackay was the most advantageous choice not only for existing Australian customers but for new customers, as well.”
The expansion into Australia was fueled by the expanding U.S. growth of the company and emergence into the Australian market in 1998.
C.E.O. of Longwall Associates, Tony Campbell added: “This is a vital move for our company. Everyone involved has been raring to go since discussions commenced with opening a sister company. The infiltration into the Australian market has been a seamless integration of applying the extensive knowledge of our U.S. staff with the vast resources, experience and knowledge of our Australian counterparts. Together those elements create a synergy that is unstoppable. We could not be more fortunate that Peter Van Iersel has assumed the lead role in Australia. One of the greatest attributes of our new company is the determination Peter has to lead the company in the most favorable direction for our staff and customers.”
On finishing the facility, Peter Van Iersel began one of several hiring phases adding several core members to the staff. “Since we formed the company, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in employment. This company has been fortunate enough to carefully choose our staff”, Van Iersel said. “We will continue to do so this year.”
Longwall Associates Australia has been commissioned by service company MTS to complete a re-build of 5 roof supports. The scope of work encompasses a comprehensive strip- down and re-build for Kestrel mine. In addition, Longwall Associates Australia workshop manager, Ken Bayliss, was commissioned by Capricorn Coal to supervise their Longwall change at Southern Colliery, where Longwall Associates has a complete pan line installed.
CEO Campbell said the company’s mission was to provide the most innovative longwall systems to the industry.
“Rather than expand our product line to include other longwall components, we chose to expand our company; our core is the AFC and BSL systems. That is our expertise, we know these systems inside and out. We have the best design and manufacture team in both countries to produce them, that will remain our focus.”
Longwall Associates are expected to add to their product line later this year, but Campbell declined further comment.