In 2003 -2004 only two meetings were held. This is mostly due to work pressures and a shortage of time to organise functions. However, the two meetings we have had were great, not from the attendance aspect but from the meeting value aspect.

The first was on February 12th when we held a joint meeting with Wellington to hold the Jim Macdonald Memorial Lecture. The meeting was sponsored by Wellington City Council and Higgins Aggregates Ltd. This was held at the Lindale Lodge which is an excellent venue, but had staffing problems which left us a bit short at the meal.

Ian Rodger of Metso Minerals gave an interesting presentation on the places that the Barmac crusher had taken him (and the company) to, and the people met along the way. It never ceases to amaze me how such a practical invention has spread from New Zealand to cover most areas of mineral processing around the world. About the only area where use of the Barmac is lacking is the lime processing area. Perhaps that will be addressed over the next few years.

During this meeting Brian Bouzaid held an election for a new Chairman for the Wellington Branch. Mike Silver from Winstones Belmont Quarry was duly elected. We expect some interesting meetings in the future.

Site visit- Te Apiti Wind Farm
Central Districts held a meeting in Palmerston North on June 18. This meeting was sponsored by Higgins Aggregates Ltd. The meeting assembled at Higgins? Te Matai Road Plant at 2.30 pm. We then headed off to the Te Apiti Wind Farm Site, which belongs to Meridian Energy.

We saw nine assembled towers which stand 70m tall with 40m blades on the generator which raise the overall height to 110m. Each unit generates 1.65 megawatts. Each tower is assembled using a 450 tonne capacity crane. The roads have to be especially wide to accommodate this crane, and will be narrowed down to access roads for maintenance after the construction is finished. There will be a total of 50 units in the windfarm. To hold these towers up they have foundations of from 300 to 450 cu m of concrete, for each tower, depending on the footings.

Higgins Concrete Ltd are pouring up to two sets of foundations per day. Higgins have a portable concrete plant on site that is fed their portable crushing plants specially build to supply concrete aggregates for the project. A specially designed mix allowed Higgins aggregates to substantially reduce the raw materials required for processing the project needs.

This project will provide 90 megawatts of power and is the first wind farm to be connected directly into the national grid. Altogether an amazing project and well worth visiting. Our thanks to Cobus and the Higgins project management staff who showed us around.

We returned to the Te Matai Road plant at 5 pm, where the staff who remained behind had set up a barbeque and refreshments. After a meal we held the AGM to elect a new Chairman and a Secretary. There were no nominations for Chairman and Cobus agreed to continue this function. A new secretary/ treasurer was elected. Congratulations to Steve Garwood, who is the current quarry manager of Higgins Aggregates Bulls operations. The meeting attendance was disappointing – only attended by 14 members from 150 invitations sent out.

Future meetingsThere were some suggestions for future meetings, including an expedition to the Waiouru training ground to do some 4wd driving and experience the facilities and space at Waiouru. Bruce Dobson from 25 ESS at Linton is to organise this for later in the year, so watch this space.

Andrew Robertson & Cobus van Vuuren