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Expansion project to secure jobs, supply

Hy-Tec’s Tinda Creek sand quarry, which is located north of Windsor, New South Wales, has been operating for about 30 years. Its original development consent, granted in 1996, allowed for the extraction of up to two million tonnes at a rate of 125,000 tonnes per annum until 2021.

Although the current approved extraction area still contains an estimated 300,000 tonnes of resource, Hy-Tec indicated in its environmental impact statement (EIS) that the material was more difficult to extract and therefore less economically viable.

The Tinda Creek Sand Quarry Extension Project proposed to extend the approved extraction area to provide access to an additional 11.71 million tonnes of sand and to increase production. The project would create two new jobs at the site and require an additional 10 to 15 truck drivers.

Meeting forecast demand

According to the project’s EIS, the expansion was necessary to meet “strong, ongoing demand” for construction sand that was largely being driven by development in Sydney.

“It is estimated that the Sydney Planning Region consumes approximately seven million tonnes of fine aggregate [construction sand] annually, and that future fine aggregate demand within the Sydney region is estimated at around 75 million tonnes between 2010 and 2020, and 245 million tonnes by 2040,” the EIS noted. “There are limited sources of suitable quality construction sand to meet this forecast demand, with supply of fine construction sand from Kurnell forecast to be exhausted within five years.”

The recent project approval granted by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) means the quarry will now be able to produce up to 300,000 tonnes per year until 2045.

“Not only does this mean ongoing jobs for the 18 employees and contractors who work at the quarry but the increase secures vital sand supplies needed for growth in Sydney’s booming northwest over the next 25 years,” a DPE spokesperson commented.

The spokesperson added that the DPE had found the expansion would not result in any significant impacts on water resources or the regional road network, and that a number of changes had been made to the initial proposal to address issues raised by environmental groups.

These included scaling back the expansion to increase buffer zones between the quarry and the nearby Yengo National Park, expanding the biodiversity offset areas, and modifying the pit sizes to avoid vulnerable plants and animals.

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