Belfast Telegraph

US Open win for Ulster sand firm CDE Global

By Clare Weir

A Cookstown-headquartered firm is helping produce the sand for the 2014 US Open Golf Championship.

CDE Global has sold its first "modular wash plant" – which cleans sand and aggregates – in the USA to GS Materials, a family-owned company that has been in operation since 1984, located in Burlington, North Carolina.

GS Materials serves almost the entire state of North Carolina including its capital, Raleigh, and its largest city, Charlotte, with sand and aggregates, including the venue for this year's US Open. The construction aggregates industry in the US produced two billion metric tons of material in 2013 and as 2014 progresses the industry is optimistic as the economy overall is continuing to improve with aggregate producers in many parts of America, including North Carolina, continuing to see an increase in business.

In 2013, GS Materials investigated the possibility of a new wash plant that would solve the problems that the company was experiencing with their existing processing system, which was over 40 years old and not processing clay lumps in the material nor recovering fine sand from the waste material. CDE was awarded the contract and the plant was commissioned in December 2013.

Now the new modular wash plant from CDE Global in North Carolina is producing golf sands which are being supplied to Pinehurst Golf Club, the venue for the 2014 US Open Championship from June 19-21.

GS Materials quarry manager Troy Russell said that as well as production and efficiency requirements, the company specified that it didn't want a turnkey, bespoke system that would take weeks and weeks to design.

"We wanted an off-the-shelf modular package that was ready to work. CDE could provide this." he said.

"When we first detailed our requirements for this new wash plant our main aim was to produce high-quality concrete sand and capture the fine sand we were losing.

"When CDE suggested that we had the capability to also make golf sand we grasped that opportunity. The result is a first-class USPGA golf sand which we are now supplying to Pinehurst Golf Resort, one of the pre-eminent golf resorts in the United States and the site of the 2014 US Open in June."

Founder and chairman of CDE Global, Tony Convery, said that the product range had been designed around rapid deployment, reduced plant footprint and increased production efficiencies.

"We pre-wire and pre-build every unit before it leaves our factory to ensure that once we get to site we can have the plant up and running in the shortest possible time," he said.


CDE Global makes machines which clean sand and other aggregates for the quarrying, mining and construction industries from its Cookstown base. It was founded in 1992 and today claims to be the world's leading supplier of washing equipment for quarries and mines, outselling its competitors globally. It has seven priority export markets: South Africa, Australia, the Middle East, Central Europe, Turkey, Brazil and North America. The focus on Asia is the responsibility of CDE Asia.

Successfully fighting the recession

When the recession hit, CDE Global was a leading supplier of washing equipment for quarries that supplied the building industry.

"The recession hit five years ago and our business was heavily based on the buoyancy of the construction sector," said managing director Brendan McGurgan.

CDE's clients include some of the largest names in the building industry in the world.

CDE Global was tendering for major projects when the recession hit. It was as if the industry just "turned off the tap", recalled Brendan, particularly for large contracts.

A healthy future for CDE Global required it to fundamentally change its business model.

The board evaluated where its existing expertise could be applied in other sectors that were not affected by the recession.

CDE Global committed itself not just to overcoming the recession that hit in 2007, but to making the business recession-proof thereafter. It has since focused on activities less vulnerable to economic cycles and to diversify across different products, customers and national markets.

CDE Global now claims to be the world's leading supplier of washing equipment for quarries and mines.

There are now seven priority export markets: South Africa, Australia, Middle East, Central Europe, Turkey, Brazil and North America. The focus on Asia is the responsibility of CDE Asia.

"Our turnover dropped dramatically, but has now grown probably by more than 30-35-40% of what it was pre-recession," said Brendan.

Before the recession, CDE Global employed about 65 people in Cookstown; today there are about 115 staff. Worldwide there are around 250 people employed.

Belfast Telegraph