Four brothers whose father founded one of New Zealand's largest mining and civil contractors from the 1960s through to the 1990s built largely around Komatsu equipment have set up their own company, again based around Komatsu.

In recently they have purchased back a PC1000SE-1 excavator owned by the company their father started, rebuilt it and now have it back at work expecting another 15,000 hours from it.

Mike, Tony, Tim and Simon Ross formed C&R Developments in 1999 to carry out coal and quarry overburden removal contracts around the Waikato region.

But their history in the contracting business goes back to 1960, when their late father Jim Ross formed Baker Construction Ltd (BCL).

By the mid-1970s BCL had become one of the largest mining and civil contractors in NZ, working on most of the large projects in New Zealand, specialising in overburden removal contracts in coal, gold as well as being involved in major hydroelectric projects during that decade.

During the 1970s, BCL was the largest contractor on the major hydro scheme at Twizel, in the lower South Island. This project involved linking three lakes Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau by a large canal system, allowing construction of four hydro power stations.

At the time it was regarded as the largest earthmoving project in the Southern Hemisphere. Tragically, Jim Ross was killed in a car accident in the 1970s in the region.

In the early 1990s the company moved to carry out offshore contracts, including the Yamo Expressway (part of the new Hong Kong Airport project), as well as contracts in Western Australia.

These were mainly open cast goldmining at Coolgardie, including the Three Mile Hill, Tindalls, Brillant and Greenfield goldmines.

All of these offshore projects were 100% Komatsu equipped including the first PC650-5 in Australasia.

By the early 1990s, BCL was operating over 100 Komatsu plant items, including a PC1600-1, four PC1000SE-1s and 15 HD465-3 dump trucks then in 1994 the company was sold to DML Resources.

However, in 1999 due to the demise of DML and following requests from former BCL clients, C&R Developments based in the central North Island town of Cambridge was established by Jim Ross's sons to undertake coal and quarry overburden removal contracts.

Its current work base is the upper North Island, with clients including a major project to supply coal to a number of dairy factories for Fonterra, New Zealand's largest company, as well as overburden removal contracts for the country's largest quarry operators, including Winstone, Kaipara and Holcim plants.

C&R's current list of 50 plant items includes a number of items of Komatsu equipment, including a PC1100SP-6, five PC1000SE-1s, three PC650-5s, one PC400-5, one PC200-7 and one PC120-6 excavator, six HD785-3 and six HD465-3 dump trucks, a D155A-2 dozer and two GD825A-2 graders.

BCL's very first Komatsu was a D85P-18 swamp dozer purchased in 1983 which became referred to in the company as "The Legend" for its reliability and performance, said Tim Ross and influenced the family to keep buying Komatsu.

"We've always found Komatsu plant to be strong and reliable.

"And we have always enjoyed an excellent relationship with Komatsu people across the board and none more so than with Les Reid, the company's current sales rep in our region," he said.

"Our local Komatsu Service Agent, Diesel and Mechanical Services (DAMS) help us immensely. Pete Goodwin and his team have excellent product knowledge and their quality and speed of service is second to none."