Neilsens Quality Gravels, the operators of Kin Kin quarry, wish to expand the quarry after the suburb’s residents lost a court battle to stop the extension in 2010. However, residents say they will not stop opposing the quarry and will do whatever it takes including chaining their families to a local bridge. A photo in The Gympie Times shows young children chained together and secured to a bridge.
The Gympie Times has also described the quarry in an article published on 23 May, 2013 as a ?mega quarry?. Rob Snowden, group quarry manager for Neilsen, denied this when he spoke to Quarry.
?The quarry has neither the resources nor the available space [total quarry lease area of 60 hectares] to become even a large quarry,? Snowden said. He added that a large quarry has an output of two million tonnes per year while a mega quarry?s output is 10 million tonnes per annum. Neither is near the output expected from Kin Kin.
?Approvals cap the quarry at one million tonnes per annum, which is highly unlikely either,? he explained. ?It will supply high quality concrete, asphalt and road building products at competitive rates in the immediate vicinity of the site, to a maximum of 70 kilometres. Finally, common sense tells you there is not enough market on the entire Sunshine Coast to support a ?mega quarry? even if it were the only quarry present.?
Sunshine Coast reserves expiring
Quarry reserves on the Sunshine Coast are expiring and Snowden told Quarry that part of the reason the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) permitted the acquisition of Sunshine Quarries by Boral last year was due to the entry of the Neilsen?s Kin Kin quarry to benefit the local market.
In a report on Boral?s acquisition of Sunshine Quarries, the ACCC said that while the imminent entry of the Neilsen?s Kin Kin quarry has occurred on the basis of pre-existing approvals, further greenfield entry in the Sunshine Coast region appeared unlikely in the foreseeable future.
Other issues that have been brought up by local residents were the use of trucks on local roads and concerns about sediment from the quarry.
Sunshine Coast councillor Tony Wellington successfully introduced a motion attempting to ensure the quarry trucks only use Pomona-Kin Kin Road. Now local residents are saying that the Pomona-Kin Kin road is unsuitable due to its width and its three one-lane bridges.
The council has urged the Queensland Government to upgrade the road but at an estimated cost of $72 million, the government has indicated it would cost too much.
No flooding risk
The Gympie Times said that of prime concern for locals was a proposed service road to the highest point on the Kin Kin site that would allow silt to flow directly into a neighbouring cattle property and creeks feeding the Noosa River Catchment.
?The nearest neighbour has expressed their concerns that in extreme rain events the rain collection dam at the quarry will naturally overflow bringing high suspended solids rain flow onto their site downstream from the disturbed areas of the quarry,? Snowden explained.
?In such an event, flooding would be evident across the countryside with everybody?s dams overflowing and by virtue of the nature of the terrain, sediment will move downstream everywhere with little or no discernible excess contribution from the relatively small quarry site.?
The local newspaper said that opponents of the quarry were fearful the Sunshine Coast council and state authorities would give carte blanche authority to Neilsen to discharge contaminants into the Noosa River catchment.
?Indeed, the same anti-quarry group has claimed that this would jeopardise the Noosa River,? Snowden told Quarry. ?The truth is that the entire quarry site of 60 hectares makes up 0.0003 per cent of the overall Noosa Drainage Basin and is many kilometres upstream.?
Sources: ABC News, Neilsen, Gympie Times