FARMING and mining are often reported as two industries that clash with each other, particularly when water resources or premium agriculture is threatened.
But there are many success stories throughout SA, and Tintinara cattle breeder Stephen Bainger is one of them.
He runs about 100 breeding cows on about 485 hectares at Tintinara, using three Simmental bulls over Herefords, and comes from a family with a long history of farming in the South East.
His calves are sold as vealers at either Naracoorte or Mount Compass.
But he is also the owner and director of Tooperang Quarry, near Victor Harbor, a plant that has just opened its first silica sand-washing plant to supply glass-grade sand to leading global glass manufacturer Owens Illinois' Adelaide Plant at Croydon, which makes wine bottles for many SA companies.
"I've always run the farming operation as an absentee farmer - one to two days a week satisfies the requirements there," Stephen said.
"I've been slowly renovating and getting the dryland lucernes back growing, which is an ongoing project.
"But this year I've had to ease off from the farm a bit and concentrate more here, at the new plant."
The new plant was officially opened on Tuesday last week, receiving a plaque from the SA Department for Resources and Energy deputy chief executive Paul Heithersay.
It produces 50 tonnes of glass-grade sand each hour and 20t/h of concrete sand, and is managed by Stephen's son-in-law Liam Tisdal, while his son Matthew Bainger runs freight operations and his wife, Christine handles bookwork and accounts. "It's very much a family business," Stephen said. "My son-in-law and family do help me occasionally at Tinti as well, but I usually employ labour in the busy period to help me with calf marking and that sort of thing.
"The rest of it I can handle myself."
The quarry had its beginnings 25 years ago when Stephen and his family started an earthmoving business, followed by a landscaping business at Victor Harbor.
It started small but grew quickly and eventually employed 10 staff, largely off the back of the Victor Harbor property boom.
"Buying the quarry was basically an extension of that, but it was basically construction sand then," Stephen said.
"This fine sand was just looming in the distance as we moved the quarry back and it was basically a nuisance.
"After a lot of testing and trialling we worked out it was silica-grade sand and that's when we partnered up with OI."
Stephen has a particular interest in sustainable water-use, a principle that is shared by his mining and his farming enterprises.
He has set up a solar water-pumping system at Tintinara, while the Tooperang Quarry was constructed by order through CDE Global, Northern Ireland, primarily for its state-of-the-art water retention qualities.
"This plant retains 90 per cent of the wash water on-site and recycles it, which is world's best-practice," Stephen said.
*Full report in Stock Journal, November 21 issue, 2013.