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Construction materials operator makes case for quarry expansion

Hanson Australia has expressed confidence that its proposed Sancrox Quarry expansion can be implemented with minimal environmental impact and will create economic benefits through greater market competition.

The construction material supplier has released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) report assessing the potential impact of the development that, if approved, would enlarge the 17ha existing quarry footprint to 48ha.

The operation, located 8km west of Port Macquarie, New South Wales, would also involve the construction of a new concrete batching plant, asphalt production plant and concrete recycling facility.

The existing quarry has a 20-year approval, but Hanson wants to extend its life to 30 years.

The company is proposing to extract more than 500,000 tonnes of material per year to access more than five million tonnes of reserves. It also wants to perform 24/7 quarry operations, including production and maintenance, as well as around-the-clock truck movements and equipment loading.

Mitigation measures

The EIS, prepared by consultancy firm ERM, was released in October and is currently out for public consultation. The submissions period closes on Wednesday, 11 December before it is assessed as a state significant development by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

The report detailed a range of mitigation measures for sustainable water use and management, minimisation of traffic impact, acceptable noise and dust emissions, effective management of waste and reduced visibility of operations.

“There were no significant environmental impacts identified during the preparation of the EIS that cannot be mitigated by appropriate mitigation measures and management strategies,” the EIS concluded.

“[It] is justified in terms of the overall economic benefits to the local, state and national economies.”

24/7 operation

According to Hanson, construction materials produced at Sancrox Quarry would meet “a fundamental community need” for the construction of roads, other infrastructure and major development projects in the region.

It would also have positive flow on effects for the local economy through the creation of jobs in related industries, with the operation itself set to provide 25 jobs (10 additional full-time employees).

According to the report, the quarry is ideally located away from any substantial residential development, and is directly adjacent to the recently upgraded Sancrox Interchange and Pacific Highway, allowing for safe distribution of materials.

If approved, the 24-hour site operation would support efficient delivery of products to individual projects, particularly those requiring materials outside standard construction hours.

“Should 24 hours/seven days a week operation not be sought, Hanson would not be able to bid on such projects, thus limiting competition in the market,” the EIS said.

“Reduced competition could potentially have negative flow on consequences, such as reduced time and cost efficiency of night-time construction works, thus potentially generating negative economic impacts to the broader community.”

Hanson is also seeking 24/7 truck movements and equipment loading for 365 days a year. “Should approval be granted, it will allow for operational traffic to utilise the road network outside of the daytime period, thus reducing the cumulative impact on traffic during higher volume periods.”

In addition, Hanson believes its proposal will result in environmental benefits for the region through the diversion of used concrete from landfill.

The company intends to rehabilitate the site to a self-sustaining, stable condition, which is revegetated with native plant species.  Once established, this is expected to provide a habitat suitable for native plants and fauna.

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