Apr 15, 2020

Flood protection and nature development around the Maas river

The Grensmaas project in the southern Netherlands, along the Maas river separating the Netherlands and Belgium, is a very interesting humanitarian, nature and business project. The project’s primary purpose is to protect the surrounding area from flooding. Estimated to cost over EUR 700 million, the entire project is auto funded through the sales of the extracted sand and gravel. This is where Metso comes into the picture: a Metso MX4 serves two of the project’s floating crushing and screening lines.

Consortium Grensmaas, a consortium of partners, will give the Maas river around 350 hectares of extra space for water. In doing so, thousands of people living along the river will be protected from the kind of flooding they experienced in 1993 and 1995.

As a second target, the project aims to develop nature along the river. The project will create a total of 1000 hectares of additional nature as part of the Maas Valley River Park. On the fresh subsoil that remains after the river widening and gravel extraction, the fauna and flora will have to conquer the site again. Ultimately, this will result in possibilities for new nature experiences, walking trails, exciting kayak trips and encounters with new flowers, plants and birds.

And finally, there’s also a business side to this, of course, but again an interestingly creative one. From the beginning, the decision was made that this project wouldn’t be funded through taxes paid by the Dutch people.

The project, estimated to cost over EUR 700 million, is auto funded through the sales of the extracted sand and gravel – and that’s where Metso plays a role.

Working together for a good cause

Hans van der Meer, head of production and technical service, and Rob Schreurs, responsible for the execution at Grensmaas, are very enthusiastic about the whole project and the collaboration they’ve experienced with BIA, the local distributor, and Metso.

“It is with a lot of pride that we both want to promote what has happened here along the Maas,” says Hans. “This project clearly demonstrates that it is possible to do great things if everyone works together for the same and good cause.”

“This project clearly demonstrates that it is possible to do great things if everyone works together for the same and good cause.”

Hans van der Meer, head of production and technical service from Consortium Grensmaas and Jesse Hopma, Account Manager from BIA

The site has to be moved to different locations along the river, so the crushing, screening and washing plants are installed on two vessels.

Both units produce several end-products of sand and gravel for customers mainly in the concrete industry.

The vessels are not new and were already used for other projects. They contain all the necessary equipment to produce sand and gravel for their customers and to load the products onto ships for inland transportation.

A lot of the production activity is also happening onshore. Excavators and trucks extract and bring the sand and gravel from the Dutch riverside closer to the production site, where it’s crushed, screened and washed.

MX4 Multi-Action cone crusher provides optimal results after many laboratory tests

MX4 cone crusher by the Maas river

BIA, Metso’s crushing and screening equipment distributor for the Benelux, delivered earth-moving machines and a Metso MX4 multi-action cone crusher for the project.

Besides the MX4 cone crusher, the site also has plenty of other Metso machines in operation. Two C96 jaw crushers, one HP400 cone crusher and five H36 Svedala Hydrocones ensure that high-quality end goods are produced for the project’s customers. 4.5 million tonnes of sand and gravel are produced every year and almost every kilo of sand and gravel is moved to the end-users by ship (150-200 ships/week).

In the autumn of 2018, the MX4 replaced an old H51 Svedala cone crusher, a secondary crusher that had become too small in terms of capacity and too big for the sometimes-needed fine crushing.

The MX4 has serial number 3 and is the first Metso MX4 taken into production in the Netherlands. It is fed with 0-100mm material and produces 0-32mm that is going onto the vessel’s screening plant.

“In the beginning, we needed to play around with the machine to find the best settings for our operations,” says Hans. “We found our optimal setting with a 26-mm CSS and a chamber load of 75%, and it now operates at over 300 t/h,” he concludes.

Finding the optimal settings was hard work: we checked production output in the laboratory and adjusted the settings daily until it fit our needs.

Visiorock monitors the crusher output

Metso's analyzer solution Visiorock monitors crusher output

In March of 2019, Metso’s particle size analyzer solution Visiorock™ was added. “External parties had doubts that this would work in a sand and gravel application, but our experience is that it does,” says Henk Orta, responsible for the quality of the end products at Grensmaas Consortium. “With the expert help of Meïssa Ababou, from Metso Mâcon, staying on site for a couple of days, the system started working perfectly.

“The Visiorock is constantly monitoring the crusher output, providing us the needed statistics and proving that our settings are giving us the desired product. That’s why we installed it.”

Henk Orta adds: “Since we have the Visiorock, I only run laboratory sample tests once a week and the test results correspond to the statistics we’re getting from the Visiorock system. I can only say we’re very happy with the system.”

“We are all experts in our specific domains, and I want to finish by saying the collaboration with BIA and Metso has been excellent. All parties were available and very helpful to us. We’ve all learned a lot from each other and we overcame all the issues together,” according to Hans.

The Grensmaas project received its permits in 2005 and started production in 2009.

The end of the project is planned for 2027, and we’re already curious to know how the surrounding nature will look like in 2030.

Meanwhile, the people living in the area around the Maas feel a lot safer now, and Metso is happy to have been a little partner in this project.

NOTE! The capacities are maximum capacities in a continuous troublefree operation when feed material quality and grading curve corresponds to the theoretical curve used in this calculation. Long term capacities will fluctuate due to the variations in the feed and operating intensity of the plant. Metso does not guarantee any of the calculation results without our separate written approval based on a detailed study of the case.

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