Construction boom increases quarry rock demand

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment has given Port Kembla-based business Cleary Bros the green light to expand its Albion Park quarry.

The Illawarra quarry was established more than 40 years ago, and initially operated at a production rate of 400,000 tonnes per annum (tpa). In June 2009, Cleary Bros received approval to increase production to 600,000 tpa, and last month, the quarry’s consent was modified a second time to allow for production of up to 900,000 tpa.

The department’s assessment report for the modification noted that the quarry had “long been identified by the [NSW] Division of Resources and Energy as being a regionally significant source of hard rock for the Sydney and lllawarra regional construction industries”, and a department spokesperson indicated that a lot of development was currently underway in these areas.

“With this construction boom set to continue, demand for the high quality hard rock produced at the Albion Park quarry is on the rise,” the spokesperson said. “The approved production increase means the region’s construction industry will be able to source more raw materials locally.”

The spokesperson pointed out, however, that the approval had been conditional. “We’re requiring the quarry to produce a transport management plan and driver’s code of conduct to minimise impacts to the local road network. In approving the increase, we’ve applied strict conditions to strengthen requirements around traffic, air quality, noise and blasting management.”

The spokesperson said these conditions would be monitored and enforced by the department’s compliance team, while a statement on the quarry operator’s website indicated that it had commenced expansion works to accommodate the production increase.

“The new works will allow access to a new area of resource, which will provide up to 20 years of hard rock for the local construction industry,” the statement read. “The works come after 15 years of negotiations between stakeholders and government agencies.

“The works will ensure the ongoing competitiveness of hard rock supply in the Illawarra/South Coast, and allow Cleary Bros to continue its support of the local community through employment and economic investment.”

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