South Korea needs aggregates. Its population has doubled since 1960 and is now 51 million people; over 81% of them are living in an urban environment. With the many major infrastructure projects, like high-speed trains, subways, bridges, residential buildings, airport and harbor expansions, there is a steady high demand for aggregates. The ban on using river and sea sand has rapidly increased the demand for high-quality manufactured sand and thus for Metso, which is considered the market’s preferred supplier for premium manufactured sand production equipment. We talked with HAEIN Corporation’s Chairman, Mr. K.H. Won, and Managing Director, Mr. S.W. Choi, to find out the specifics of the market.
Q1: Mr. Won, can you describe to us your company and why the Metso dealership is important to you?
HAEIN was established in 1960, about ten years after the Korean War ended. At that time, Korea was a very poor country. In the late 1960s the government started to contract out the 400-km highway from Seoul to Busan – and that’s when HAEIN truly started its operation. Prior to that, we had become the Caterpillar representative in Korea. Since then, the company has grown fast. Today, we have some 3,000 active customers corresponding to about 25% of all Korea’s mining and aggregate customers.
Our journey with Metso started in 2012. We wanted the Metso dealership, as Metso’s offering is very complementary to our scope. Thanks to the excellent cooperation and the full scope of trusted Metso solutions, our joint business volume has skyrocketed in six years.
Mr. K.H. Won, HAEIN Corporation’s Chairman explaining why they wanted the Metso dealership.
Q2: What are the things Korean quarry owners value?
South Korean quarries produce around 140 million cubic meters (224 million metric tons) of aggregates annually. Local quarry owners tend to go for high-capacity stationary plants; they are not interested in small or middle-sized ones. Increasing efficiency and reducing down-time as well as cost per ton are the key drivers for them. Metso is considered a high-end company here, an expert one-stop-shop that can provide premium high-capacity products – and full plants when needed.
Q3: What type of technology is used for aggregates production in Korea?
Today Korean quarries favor large stationary crushing plants. Due to quarry license issues, the size of the plants is getting bigger and more and more high-capacity plants are being demanded by customers.
Also, due to the shortage of natural sand, the demand for manufactured sand is increasing and customers are enquiring about respective solutions. There is also an increasing interest towards mobile plants – particularly Lokotrack crushing plants. These were introduced a couple of years back and the end users have responded to them very positively. In addition, HP cones have rapidly gained market share. We can also see an increasing demand for vibrating screens.
South Korea has stringent regulations for the quality of aggregates, both for asphalt and concrete. Hence, most quarry owners/aggregates producers are concerned about the shape of the aggregates. This increases the demand for the best available technology and equipment. This year we will be installing the first HRC unit, which is based on high-pressure roll grinding technology, at a sand plant at a granite quarry. The target is to make an even better product gradation and to increase sand production.
Q4: Mr. Choi, can you describe how HAEIN and Metso cooperate around Korea?
‘Seeing is believing’ – our customers rely on experience and proven results. They are also very technology-savvy. Metso technology is well-known and respected in Korea because of its high quality and efficient manufacturing process.
Today we have Metso salespersons in 14 branch offices all over Korea. Two years back, we established a specific crushing team that has the capability to quickly support our customers. In addition, we have a dedicated Metso service team in place.
Mr. S.W. Choi, Managing Director describes Korean customers as technology-savvy.
Q5: What about sustainability. How big of a role does it play?
The government is continuously imposing new, more stringent regulations on quarries. It can take up to three years to get a permit to operate a quarry. Efforts are made and implemented to reduce dust and noise emissions and to save water and energy wherever possible. These are also important features in the new plants and processes that are commissioned.
Quarrying of river and sea sand is also prohibited nowadays to prevent environment destruction. This naturally increases the demand for equipment for sustainable manufactured sand production.
Q6: What kind of future development do you see in the business environment?
I expect to see more consolidation. The demand for high-quality products will continue to increase. Efficiency requirements will continue to increase, and therefore the demand for bigger and more efficient crushers will remain high. The role of automation will definitely grow.