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Park Sa Ick’s story shows the human side of aggregates

First publishedin Aggregates Business International
July August 2018
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A drone-captured picture of Kyungboo Quarry.jpg

Park Sa Ick remembers being saddened as a schoolboy coming home one day from classes to see his mother bent down collecting stones from a small stream near the family home in Sangju, South Korea. It was 1974 and Park’s family and millions like them across the East Asian country were finding it increasingly difficult to cover basic living costs during what were tough national economic times.

This led many, like Park’s mother, to do whatever they could to generate just a few extra won, including selling small bags of riverbed stones.

Making a heartfelt promise to his mother that he would make it big in construction, so she would never have to collect and sell stones again, Park did well in his studies and in 1982, aged 24, landed a job at a Seoul-headquartered construction firm. He quickly set about learning the ins and outs of construction, building materials and quarrying, with his knowledge and understanding of global quarrying OEMs boosted by a work posting to Middle Eastern countries.

On returning to South Korea in 1985, Park established a company, Kyungboo, rented a quarry near the thriving business-focused coastal city of Busan, in southeast South Korea, and began processing 50tonnes/hour of aggregates for a variety of local construction and highways customers.

Fast forward to June 2018 and Park is now the proud owner of a large, state-of-the-art granite quarry on the outskirts of Gimhae, a city about one-and-a-half-hours north of Busan, which is producing 2.2million tonnes of -25mm aggregates and manufactured sand/year.

This ABI issue’s quarry profile looks at how Park’s shrewd investment in premium crushing and screening plant and automation software is allowing him and his wife, Kyungmi Shin, Kyungboo’s financial director, to meet existing customer demand, while seeking new business opportunities.

New business opportunities will be in abundance if the initial summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. president Donald Trump leads to the denuclearisation of North Korea and more relaxed relations with its neighbour, South Korea, and the wider world. The recent summit was all the talk among quarry and mine operators who I met during my recent trip to South Korea, with news of house prices having rocketed up in towns and villages both sides of the border following the summit’s conclusion, a great indicator of the potential for all types of commerce to thrive. The largely untapped natural mineral resources in North Korea and the country’s great need for investment in new infrastructure are a potential boon for the global aggregates industry and leading major and ambitious medium and small quarrying OEMs.

Remaining in Asia, BKT, the Indian-headquartered global off-highway tyre giant, recently celebrated 10 years of its highly successful Earthmax tyre range, which includes popular tyre sizes for quarrying loader models.

Aggregates Business executive editor Patrick Smith accepted the not-very-tough assignment of attending the company’s big landmark anniversary bash in Crete, Greece. In between the speeches, presentations and generally fine hospitality, Patrick sat down with BKT chairman and managing director, Arvind Poddar, to find out more about the company’s enduring success and all-important growth strategy. You can read all about it in this issue’s interview feature.

I just want to end this comment piece by thanking Patrick for all his advice and support during my highly enjoyable four years to date as Aggregates Business International editor.

A former editor of this title, Patrick is retiring from his executive editor role but will continue to work as a freelance contributor to both Aggregates Business International and its sister publication, Aggregates Business Europe. I’m very much looking forward to continuing our working relationship, but rest assured Patrick, your next assignment will not be as warm or comfortable as an early summer trip to Crete!

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