by Brian O’Sullivan
The only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, Saudi Arabia is the second-largest state in the Arab region after Algeria and the 13th in the world. Mostly made up of arid desert and mountains, the country is one of the world’s top producers and exporters of oil but is also known for its abundance of other natural resources and raw materials. From gold to granite, zinc to zeolites, close to 50 minerals have been identified in the prosperous kingdom. Limestone is among the state’s many minerals and helping to keep the supply of this material at an all-time high is longstanding company Saudi Dolomite.
Founded in 1981, Saudi Dolomite runs a processing plant in Abqaiq — which is located in the desert, approximately 50 miles (80 km) southwest of the capital of the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, Damman. Covering an area of 62 acres (250,000 m²), the plant processes 5,000 tons of raw material per day and runs its around-the-clock operation seven days a week. With a total of 280 employees, Saudi Dolomite’s plant is considered a leader in terms of technology, productivity and quality, and the company attributes part of its success to its Volvo (Volvo CE) machines.
“We have a long relationship with Volvo,” says Ali Al Mubarak, managing director at Saudi Dolomite. “We started out with two small BM wheel loaders over 30 years ago and due to their uptime and reliability, in what are really harsh conditions, I’d say we have grown this business together.”
Saudi Dolomite’s crushing and calcination plant produces lime (pure calcium oxide) and dolime (calcium oxide with magnesium content) from limestone rock found in the two quarries it sub-contracts. Through a number of different kilns, the company is able to manufacture specific sized material to be used for key industrial chemicals needed in water desalination plants as well as for steel making within Saudi Arabia.
Volvo BM L150 and Volvo L180F wheel loaders are used for material handling and loading duties across the site. Required to work 12-hour shifts, the equipment has proved it’s in it for the long haul with the machines passing the 50,000 hours mark. Saudi Dolomite also operates 35 Volvo on-highway trucks for shipping in addition to wheel loaders.
“The wheel loaders are strong and comfortable,” says Joal Saclao, veteran operator at Saudi Dolomite. “The cabin environment protects me from the dust and heat, which makes a real difference to my work and wellbeing, as I spend up to 12-hours per day in this machine.”
More than just business
Supplied by FAMCO, Volvo CE’s dealer in the region, Saudi Dolomite is not only impressed with the way the wheel loaders are working, but with the service that comes alongside the equipment too. “I have no doubts about Volvo machines or Volvo as a company,” says Al Mubarak. “Additionally, with FAMCO as the dealer for construction equipment here in Saudi Arabia, I think it’s fair to say that I’m happy for my business to depend on Volvo. Breakdowns are rare, the initial price when considering the overall lifetime cost is really favorable, and I firmly believe that with Volvo and FAMCO, we have a partnership rather than a basic supplier-customer relationship.”