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Hitachi excavators for Brittany quarry operator

Pigeon Carrières purchase two new ZX870LCR-3 excavators for granite and limestone operations

A LEADING quarrying company in Brittany has demonstrated confidence in the aggregates market by ordering two new large Hitachi excavators. Pigeon Carrières have already taken delivery of the first ZX870LCR-3 for one of their large granite quarries near Rennes.

The other identical Zaxis machine will be delivered to a limestone quarry in December.

Pigeon Carrières are part of Groupe Pigeon, an independent family-owned company based in the Grand Ouest (North-west France) that, over the past 80 years, has become a major player in regional town and country planning activities.

With 60 companies, 115 agencies and production sites and more than 2,300 employees, the Group’s activities include quarrying, public works, lime, concrete, the trading of construction materials and processing of plastics.

Quarrying is the Group’s main business, however, and employs 420 staff. The company’s 49 operating quarries provide a total annual production of 10.5 million tonnes and contribute one quarter of the Group’s non-consolidated sales (Group turnover in 2010 was €100.3million).

‘The global financial and economic climate is uncertain, but we have reasons for optimism in this region,’ explained Group chairman Thierry Pigeon. ‘This is an area that is continually developing. For example, the construction of the TGV between Le Mans and Rennes on the high-speed rail network is going to be a very important project. We also expect a new metro line to be built in Rennes and there is the possibility of a new airport in Notre Dame des Landes, between Nantes and Rennes.’

The 50ha granite quarry where the first ZX870LCR-3 has already started work employs 52 staff over two shifts. The new machine has joined a ZX670LCR-3 in loading blasted rock on to rigid dumptrucks. A Hitachi ZW310 wheel loader has also been supplied by local dealers Cobemat for the loading of 3,000 tonnes of aggregates on to 150 delivery trucks per day.

‘We have been very happy with the different generations of Hitachi machines that we have bought over the past 24 years,’ said Mr Pigeon. ‘They offer high levels of reliability and productivity, with minimal downtime, and our operators love working with them.’

Cobemat’s managing director, Xavier Beaulieu, underlined the importance of the quarrying industry to the region. ‘Brittany covers a vast and diverse area that includes many quarries –an industry sector for which Hitachi is renowned. We enjoy a close working relationship with our quarrying customers and have developed a sizeable market share with large Zaxis crawler excavators,’ he said.

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