Based in the Bowen Basin, we speak to Moorvale Earthmoving’s Business Director, Joy Deguara, about the company’s positive impact on local communities and its reputation in the industry.
EXPERIENCE IN EXCAVATION
With more than 20 years of sustainable growth, Moorvale Earthmoving was founded in 2002 and is based in Central Queensland.
The company provides an extensive range of services to the mining industry throughout the Bowen Basin, which contains the largest coal reserves in Australia and virtually all known mineable prime coking coal.
“Family-owned and operated, Moorvale Earthmoving is run by my son Aaron Deguara, the Managing Director responsible for our operations. I am the Business Director, focusing on strategy and direction,” opens Joy Deguara.
Although women working in mining are steadily becoming more commonplace, it is critical that they enter senior management positions to facilitate female economic empowerment in local communities. Whilst women make modest gains in leadership, a void in the industry remains.
“Unfortunately, women are still grossly under-represented in the coal mining industry. It requires long working hours and often extended periods away from home, which contributes to the problem, along with a number of long-held beliefs that it is a difficult industry for women to hold positions in,” she continues.
Indeed, Australian coal mining has the lowest share of female employment at an average of 12 percent over 11 years. In contrast, metal ore mining, which employs the largest number of people, had one of the highest shares of female employment at 20 percent in 2020/21.
Mining is changing as an industry, particularly in the Bowen Basin, and Deguara has noticed a significant transformation in the area over the last 21 years.
“Massive growth is by far the most notable change, with many additional mines being developed since Moorvale Earthmoving began operations. The types of projects conducted have also altered, as we now see smaller projects as well as very large ones being undertaken,” she tells us.
SERVICES AND SOLUTIONS SNAPSHOT
Essentially, Moorvale Earthmoving provides services in three areas: civil earthworks, mining, and rehabilitation. As the name suggests, the company specialises in earthmoving and excavation services to support the mining industry.
“We have always offered compelling earthworks solutions and more recently delivered mud and shovel projects,” states Deguara.
Regarding mine rehabilitation, Moorvale Earthmoving provides complete solutions and has previously worked on the Coppabella, Moorvale, and Burton mines for Peabody Energy. It also has ongoing infrastructure projects at these three mines, as well as the Dawson, Lake Lindsay, Grosvenor, Moranbah North, and Carborough Downs mines.
As more mining operations are undertaken, continually improving its equipment is imperative for Moorvale Earthmoving, who owns over 150 machines, including 80 heavy items. The company relies on equipment such as dozers, excavators, scrapers, graders, water carts, loaders, and articulated dump trucks for large-scale projects.
“Regarding investments, Moorvale Earthmoving made a business decision in recent years to continually upgrade the fleet to ensure that we can provide our clients with reliable machinery and services,” Deguara shares.
The fleet is further supported by Moorvale Earthmoving’s maintenance workshop in the heart of the Bowen Basin, with a field maintenance team to support delivery.
“We are currently on a continuous plan to expand and enhance our fleet to ensure that the majority of our machinery and equipment is of a relatively young age.”
To enable the seamless delivery of materials to its customers, the company operates its own quarry located at Daunia Station, which opened in 2012. This high-grade granite quarry with 20 years of reserves is licenced to produce up to one million tonnes of product annually.
“We can supply a wide variety of products, including sand, road construction materials, and stemming,” mentions Deguara.
CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMMUNITY
As a rural company, Moorvale Earthmoving tries to contribute to the socioeconomic agendas of local communities and seeks to develop and maintain relationships, including a commitment to employing and training Indigenous people.
The company’s business directors, including Deguara, likewise maintain relationships with several Indigenous groups throughout Australia, enabling the delivery of projects through collaborative partnerships.
Indeed, Moorvale Earthmoving makes a concerted effort to employ as many local people as possible and contribute to the community in various ways.
“We attempt to employ local people where possible, with a considerable percentage of our workforce living within 200 kilometres (km) of our business base at Moorvale Station in Coppabella,” informs Deguara.
Moorvale Earthmoving also occasionally utilises a third-party agency when sourcing short-term labour hire workers.
“Considerable use of labour hire employees is undertaken, with around 45 percent of our 300 staff employed through the procedure.”
The engagement of employees is shaped by the company’s HR processes, which are tailored to customer policies. Meanwhile, its business systems support and encourage workplace diversity in all forms.
“We have a five-person in-house HR unit based in our Mackay office. We also have schemes which offer incentives to current employees to encourage them to invite their family or friends to join our operation,” reveals Deguara.
“Employees are trained on an ongoing and as-needed basis for the particular machines they are required to operate. Administration and general office staff are additionally offered external training opportunities for their professional development,” she continues.
The Moorvale Earthmoving board has long considered it natural progress to seek and maintain business systems in line with third-party environmental certification. The company is committed to integrating environmental, social, and economic sustainability throughout the business.
“Following an audit 12 months after the initial decision was made, our environmental certification was issued. By being proactive in environmental care, we will improve our performance and minimise our impact,” Deguara details.
The company develops a comprehensive management plan for every project it undertakes, addressing the relevant aspects of quality, safety, and the environment.
“Moorvale Earthmoving has a very strong reputation for being one of the largest and most reputable earthmoving companies in mining in Central Queensland. This allows us to return many thousands of hectares of mined land, much of which was once agricultural quality.
“Being able to contribute to the redevelopment of our country in this way gives us a great deal of pride, and we look forward to continuing to build this business segment,” she outlines.
Furthermore, as much as reasonably practicable,
Moorvale Earthmoving sources local products and services, which help the environment by reducing emissions and energy use, and boosting the local economy.
Alongside commitments to sustainable mining plans, Moorvale Earthmoving prioritises work safety. Risk management procedures, for example, ensure the workforce identifies and manages all potential hazards using the company’s safety system.
“We continue to train our staff and develop our systems to remain one of the best-performing and safest earthmoving companies,” Deguara assures us.
Moorvale Earthmoving captures feedback from customers, employees, and business partners to improve its safety systems and action changes where they are needed. This is underlined by the company’s outstanding health and safety record, as it believes that injuries are preventable.
MOVING TOWARDS THE FUTURE
With much of the world demanding large quantities of coal, and Australia’s considerable reserves and export network, the industry’s future is secure in the near term. This is evidenced by Moorvale Earthmoving’s new three-year contract with Fitzroy Mining Operations, with a two-year option to extend.
The work is situated in the Carborough Downs mine in the heart of the Bowen Basin, and the company has invested heavily in new equipment to service this contract. Furthermore, the project will employ over 40 personnel, including supervisors, loader operators, fitters, and all-round operators.
The Carborough Downs mine highlights how coal mining supports local economies, and how much the world relies upon the commodity.
“Coal mining is still strong, especially coking coal; therefore, while coal prices are good, we would expect to continue to see growth,” observes Deguara.
However, she also recognises that the industry is not without its challenges as it is facing environmental pressures.
“There is so much work being done to make coal cleaner and greener; we have the opportunity to work with our clients to help them innovate across operational areas,” she acknowledges.
As community and family-minded leaders in the mining industry, the company states it will “move the earth” to achieve continuous growth and improvement while building strong work relationships.
“One of Moorvale Earthmoving’s key objectives for the coming year is to continue to build a strong operations team with a focus on highly skilled people, who can deliver the best outcomes for both our clients and business,” finishes Deguara.