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Volcano spillways help protect communities and precious aggregate resources

As an illustration of efficiency in action, a preservation project to protect Filipino villagers’ homes from erupting volcanoes also keeps local economies thriving by ensuring that valuable aggregates found within those lava streams are contained safely.
The spillways near the city of Legazpi in the Philippines extend from the volcano towards the sea.

The Mayon volcano near the city of Legazpi is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. While volcano soil is extremely fertile for farming, lava flows are always a hazard. In addition, the wet season from July to December also poses challenges with the high volume of rainwater and debris it brings from the volcano.

Protecting villagers’ homes

To alleviate this, the local government financed construction of a network of spillways around the volcano, to direct the flow of rain, debris and lava. As a result, four EC210D units from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) delivered much needed protection to villagers living near the Mayon volcano by directing volcanic materials away from populated areas and into designated and contained areas. The heavy-duty machines have just finished building the spillways for this particular project with Sunwest Construction and Development Corporation, but Volvo machines are still hard at work around Mount Mayon with another contractor. 

“The fear of an eruption is always present among the villagers and they are really grateful that these spillways are being constructed,” says Joel Banzuela, Project Foreman at regional contracting giant Sunwest Construction and Development Corporation.

volvo-ce-mini-campaign-volcano-spillways-help-protect-communities-02Joel Banzuela, Project Foreman at Sunwest Construction and Development Corporation.

At one of these spillways at the foot of the volcano, Sunwest used four Volvo EC210D excavators to manage the construction work. The machines worked around 10 hours a day, removing earth, preparing the ground for foundations and working with pile hammers to drive steel sheet piles.

volvo-ce-mini-campaign-volcano-spillways-help-protect-communities-03The Volvo EC210D under the Mayon volcano.

Preserving valuable aggregates

This particular Legazpi spillway project is around 5 km long and was completed at the end of last year. In addition to diverting rainwater and lava from the villages, the spillways also preserve the sand and stone that erupt from inside Mayon. The high quality volcano aggregate is collected and sold onwards to local construction industries. 

“It doesn’t matter how tough the job, the EC210D always delivers power, performance and reliability,” says Noli Espartinez, Operations Manager at Sunwest Resources. “They are also really versatile and with great swing speed and stability.”

Besides buckets and pile sheet hammers, the EC210D can also be fitted with a selection of hydraulic breakers.

volvo-ce-mini-campaign-volcano-spillways-help-protect-communities-04The EC210D comes with a variety of attachments to support different applications.

“We like that the EC210D offers a variety of attachments to support different applications. This is important for us as we can use the machine on a wider range of projects,” Espartinez says.

Sunwest today has more than 80 units of the Volvo EC210D in their fleet alongside a large number of other Volvo machines.

Service and support is never far away. Volvo´s distribution partner in the Philippines, Civic Merchandising, opened a service branch in Legazpi, to provide top-class service for Sunwest and other Volvo customers in the region. Customers can also easily receive a complete offer with a tailored financial solution by Volvo Financial Services.



Tiffany Cheng

Head of Brand, Marketing and Corporate Communication
Regions Asia and China
Volvo Construction Equipment

Åsa Alström

Head of Strategic Communications
Volvo Construction Equipment