Meet Steve Maloney: Chesterfield’s record-breaking gold and diamond miner
The accolade of ‘local legend’ is probably used more than it should be, but not in Steve’s case! From gold and diamond mining, to setting world records, Steve Maloney from Newbold has done it all.
For as long as he can remember, Steve's been digging holes. Now with over 40 years’ experience, Steve is the go-to guy for training, advice, guidance and equipment hire with his new business Steves Diggers!
Following in his father’s footsteps, Steve decided from a young age that he was going to be an excavator operator, a decision that has taken him all over the world. “Stick a pin in a world map and I’ve probably been there,” Steve says.
Steve’s mining career started back in 1979, open cast mining in Staveley as a teenager. "I’d see all the experienced staff operating the big machinery and every day I’d pester the line manager asking him to let me have a go and he’d say, ‘Steve you’re too young’".
Eventually, Steve was offered the opportunity to work on one of the ‘big ones’ on a job in Stoke. Steve’s passion for machinery and hard graft quickly saw him reach the top of his profession. A German company visiting the UK sites to see some of their equipment in action was so impressed with the skill and speed at which Steve operated, they approached Steve’s boss and asked if they could borrow him. This led to Steve being flown all over the world to demonstrate some of the world’s leading excavation technology and, later, achieving a WORLD RECORD!
In 1997 Steve was flown out to Canada to test and operate a prototype hydraulic face shovel.
"On the 25 December 1997, starting at 7am and finishing at 7pm, I moved over 10,000 tonnes per hour of material. This was classified as a world first and the record still stands to this day. It was tough but the adrenaline kept me going and I could hear people over the two-way radio saying, ‘Keep going Steve, this is incredible!’ I’ll never forget that day."
Steve has mined almost every conceivable material; gold, diamonds, uranium and platinum.
"My experience of Diamond mining was amazing. I was in Lac de Gras, a diamond mine in Diavik (Canada), it’s surrounded by water, so you fly in and fly out, like in the movies. In the wintertime it’s so cold the sea freezes over and you drive across, going across in the pick-up truck is a sight to behold, it’s strikingly blue and clear. Every truck I loaded had over £800,000 of diamonds in it! Unfortunately, I haven’t stashed any for retirement!"
The demand for Steve’s experience has seen him travelling all over the world and for five years in a row, he only spent 27 days at home in Chesterfield. He is a consultant and trainer for HMS Dortmund in Germany and Caterpillar, and has recently launched his own business in Chesterfield, the aptly named Steves Diggers. Steve made the decision to start his own equipment hire business after being stuck in Mali, Africa, for four months during the first lockdown, and is really enjoying tutoring his customers, who include builders, landscapers and DIYers.
When hiring excavation equipment from Steve’s Diggers not only do you get the best machinery, but the best advice and guidance in the world.
We know who we will be coming to when it’s time to look for gold in the garden, digging holes for decking or patios, or clearing the way for that dream extension or conservatory.
Words: Simon Paterson
Images: Steve Maloney