SUNBIZ

Gold Rock Paves The Way

Gold Rock is a family orientated business where the livelihoods of its staff are at the core of the company’s need to succeed, Mr Erasito said.
17 Oct 2021 14:46
Gold Rock Paves The Way
Gold Rock Investments Limited in Dawasamu is possibly the largest operator of its kind in the Pacific islands.

From building its second quarry, to investing in possibly the Pacific’s largest tugboat and barge and even increasing its fleet of trucks, Gold Rock Investments Limited is moving steadily to stamp its place in the regional market.

The locally-owned company that established its operations in 2016, is now a recognised supplier of premium aggregates to not only Fiji, but neighbouring island economies. The Dawasamu-headquartered company in Tailevu, is expanding its operations to Qelekuro – an area not too far from its original establishment.

Having a quarry producing premium aggregates is vital in the development of national infrastructure such as roads, airport runways, buildings, and implementation of climate change adaptation projects.

“With an escalation of such development projects in Fiji and the rest of Pacific, having a large capacity quarry of premium products, is crucial,” chief commercial officer, Maurice Erasito, said.

Further to its expansion plan, Gold Rock has upgraded its concrete-making block plant as part of its expansionary developments.

“Such an expansion was needed to increase production capacity due to current increasing demand,” Mr Erasito said.

“The concrete blocks made at Gold Rock are the strongest blocks now available in Fiji. This is owed to the special formulae we use, where there is a higher content of premium rock dust used, instead of ordinary river sand.”

Gold Rock also forked out for the development of more aggregate sources in Tailevu, and along Queens Road, Mr Erasito said.

While current sources of aggregate raw materials are from the river, the company has invested in obtaining new mountain sources.

“This will enable the company to increase production capacity.

“It is also the preferred source for major international donors.”

A tug and barge that can carry 7500 tons have also made it to the company’s assets list.

And in unrelenting fashion, Gold Rock is expanding by 50 per cent, it’s current truck fleet, which currently stands at around 40, Mr Erasito said.

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Jone Usamate (third from left) with some of the team at Gold Rock Investments Limited in Dawasamu, Tailevu.

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Jone Usamate (third from left) with some of the team at Gold Rock Investments Limited in Dawasamu, Tailevu.

Contingencies

Gold Rock’s contingencies, according to Mr Erasito, encompass:

  • national recovery plans,
  • COVID-19 protocols, and
  • commercial wellbeing.

“Apart from vaccination requirements for all staff, we have re-designed our operations to cater for future border closures within Viti Levu,” he said.

“We are now equipped to have our critical staff camp, which can cater for our workers to stay for long durations of time, until we are able to arrange border passes.”

When recruiting operational staff, Gold Rock will now factor the location of the proximity of staff residence, as a major determinant in their decision.

COVID-19 reserves to cater for critical areas of operation and personnel is also an area Gold Rock is developing, Mr Erasito said.

In an effort to avoid staff redundancy, the company reinvested its savings into its operations, Mr Erasito said.

Diversification

Gold Rock is tapping into areas it feels are less sensitive to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Erasito said.

“We are building capacity in different ventures and partnerships, both here at home, and within the region,” Mr Erasito said.

“For example, we have an exclusive joint venture with the Government of Vanuatu, to harvest and value-add their bêche-de-mer resources.

“Our your business model emphasises the welfare of resource owners, as well as the sustainability of bêche-de-mer.

“That is paramount.”

Gold Rock is also branching out into a shipping business.

The focus is on specialised shipping vessels, Mr Erasito said.“Our first purchase is the tug and barge,” he said.

“We will expand our fleet with other more specialised shipping vessels within the next two years.”

Calculated risks

The calculated risks are necessary in the face of global economic uncertainty and challenges, Mr Erasito said.

“In fact, the only thing we are certain about, is that there will be many more hurdles,” he said.

“We need to be innovative, so we’re looking for opportunities that will help us continue to grow as a business.”

Gold Rock is a family orientated business where the livelihoods of its staff are at the core of the company’s need to succeed, Mr Erasito said.

“We have no choice but to keep moving forward, for our staff; and of course, contribute towards the economic recovery of our nation.”

The constricting nature of running a quarry means Gold Rock must depend on infrastructure – transportation, buildings, coastal protection – projects to get by, Mr Erasito said.

“As our two main categories of customers – private and Government- suffered the most, naturally our business wasn’t spared,” he said.

“We envision an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic recovery taking centre stage in our economy, and within it’s regional neighbours.

“We expect continued increase in the demand for building materials, road rehabilitation works, climate adaptive projects and other capital projects.We are therefore left with no choice but to keep expanding our production and distribution capacities.”

Fly by night operators

Gold Rock says it is strictly guided by the relevant Government ministries, in terms of safeguarding the environment.

“The company also places great importance on ensuring resource owners are well compensated,” Mr Erasito said.

But while it upholds its end, Gold Rock is concerned about fly by night quarry operations that exploit the environment and resource owners, he said.

“Fortunately, such operators are being consistently dealt with by the relevant authorities,” Mr Erasito said.

Why we’re here

The idea to establish a quarry stemmed from the following facts:

  • Huge increase in government budgets for road works in Fiji and in the region.
  • Huge donor funding that targets Climate Change Coastal Protection in Fiji and the region.
  • With the huge increase in demand, there were too few quarries in Fiji, which could not meet both the quantity and quality, required by the above highlighted projects.
  • To be able to produce large volumes of aggregates, Gold Rock invested in quality heavy duty auxiliary equipment, including a crushing plant manufactured by a subsidiary of Metso Group in Finland; a reputed global manufacturer of mining machinery manufacturer.
  • An initial investment of $20 million was needed to establish the first quarry. The investment has more than doubled, given the continuous expansion at Gold Rock in the last four years.

GOLD ROCK INVESTMENTS LIMITED

  • Possibly the largest quarry in the Pacific, with an annual capacity of 1.2 million cubic metres.
  • Capacity to meet Fiji and the region’s demand.
  • Meet all required OPUS M6 sealing chips standards.
  • Workforce of over 80 staff. Majority of whom belong to the quarry operations, are from the surrounding community.
  • Experienced engineers, specialised quarry operators, and lab technicians.
  • Also in the company’s service are consultant engineers, architects, geologists, information technology specialists, and heavy machinery operators.
  • Recruitment of foreign personnel is done on the condition that a local is trained to eventually take over.

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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