The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment recently approved Oberon Quarries’ application to continue operating its Langley Heights site until the end of August 2045. The hard rock quarry had originally been due to expire in May 2016.
Under the new development consent, Oberon Quarries will also be able to upgrade its quarry processing and transport infrastructure, extend the existing extraction area by one hectare, and increase its maximum daily production limit from 2000 tonnes to 3000 tonnes (although its original annual production limit of 400,000 tonnes remains unchanged).
It was said that 2.7 million tonnes of resource had been extracted from the site since the quarry was established in 1995, with an estimated 10.5 million tonnes of quality basalt remaining.
“A resource shortage in Sydney has seen demand hot up, and the 400,000 tonnes per annum falls into line with what is left in the deposit,” Oberon Quarries managing director Neil Hargraves told the Oberon Review.
The Department of Planning and Environment secretary’s environmental assessment report indicated that while some of the eight submissions received during the application’s public exhibition period recommended conditions, no one objected.
Oberon Quarries addressed each matter raised in the submissions, committing to further minimise and/or mitigate the project’s impacts through measures such as installing intersection warning signage and modifying the quarry’s stormwater management system in accordance with relevant guidelines.
The department also stipulated several other conditions, including restrictions to minimise the quarry’s noise, blasting and dust impacts.
“There are also strict conditions to protect water and limit the impact on local scenery,” Hargraves was quoted as saying. “The company is also required to upgrade local access roads.”
Hargraves added that the business spent “a lot” in the local area on tyres, repairs, engineering and hardware, as well as around $1.5 million on fuel each year.
Acknowledging this, the secretary’s report noted in its conclusion, “The proposed development would result in a range of benefits for the local and regional economy, including employment for 20 full-time staff and up to 15 contracted truck drivers. The proposed development would also allow for the continued supply of high quality hard rock into the Sydney and Central West markets for the next 30 years.”
The news comes just after the closure of the Penrith Lakes quarry, located in Castlereagh, NSW. Penrith Lakes was said to have previously supplied up to 80 per cent of the Sydney market’s construction material needs.
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