BKT were very excited to meet Juan Antonio Illescas Mateo and Fernando Buelta González, two of the leading men at CUFICA, a slate extraction company. Join us as we discover more about the impressive work they do – all accompanied by BKT’s trusty tires!
CUFICA (Roofing Fidalgo Quarry Corporation) was established in 1980, with roots dating back another thirty years; Baltasar Fidalgo López, father of the company’s current owner, first began to explore sites in Valdeorras back in 1950. Fast-forward 70 odd years, and CUFICA are now dominating the slate industry in Valdeorras, whilst having also expanded to El Bierzo. So, what’s the secret behind the company’s substantial growth?
It goes without saying that, as a family-run business that has spanned multiple generations, CUFICA holds family-oriented values. We spoke to CUFICA manager, Juan, who told us how important it is for the company to employ qualified and local staff - he says, in fact: “I think that the staff is the most important thing the company has.”. CUFICA pride themselves on providing opportunities to the local communities, and achieving the best results through the work of happy, well-trained employees.
Also, the final products play a big part in making a house a home - in any community. Slate is predominantly used for roofing, but can also be used for tiles, drip edge flashings and other interior decoration!
We also spoke to Fernando, Foreman of CUFICA’s mining operation, which is located near Las Médulas: the largest goldmine in the region, which happens to be ideal for the abstraction of slate. Fernando let us in on a secret: the lowest areas of the quarry produce the best quality mineral! Therefore, the vast majority of employees work down in these parts, while the remainder remove and load the extracted slate. By the sounds of things, CUFICA implements a clear, efficient process every day.
Now, there are a variety of vehicles involved in these daily processes. CUFICA uses a wide range of machinery to remove and load extracted material: 3 backhoe loaders and 5 rigid dump trucks, to be precise. What’s more, they use drilling machines to make holes for the blasting operations, and also to extract the slate in the first place. Finally, the best quality stone is shipped off in 3-axle trucks by road, en route to the factory.
Such an array of vehicles can only mean one thing: an array of fit for purpose tires! Throughout the aforementioned process, dump trucks drive across tracks with up to 10% inclination. Such a steep slope can be treacherous to travel on, especially in harsh weather conditions. Enter, BKT!
Fernando told us of his requirements for the ideal tire and CUFICA chose BKT’s EARTHMAX SR 45 M: “the hardness, the grip, good traction, and, of course, durability.” And how has BKT met these needs? Well… “the experience of CUFICA with BKT tires is excellent. In fact, CUFICA needs tires with special grip and traction. Indeed, tracks with a 10% inclination, especially in adverse weather, when it rains and snows, require good traction and grip” - which BKT tires provide, whatever the weather!
In light of the company’s steady growth, the team envisage CUFICA continuing to flourish over the coming years. Beyond their monopoly on slate, there is also hope for the company to expand into other sectors. Regardless, we are confident that CUFICA’s vehicles will be fit for purpose with BKT tires for many years to come!