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High quality basalt quarry gains approval

Scenic Rim Regional Council (SRRC) recently gave the green light for a quarry to be established at Mount Walker, Queensland.

The development application, which was first lodged in December 2013, estimated that the 101ha site located southwest of Ipswich contained approximately 142 million tonnes of high quality basalt.

The Queensland Government previously identified the site as a key resource area, meaning its resources are of economic importance to the state and protected from any development that would limit their availability.

The applicant, Mt Walker Quarry, proposed to exploit 50 million tonnes of basalt by extracting material at a rate of 1.2 million tonnes per annum and processing it into road base, selected fill, aggregates, armour rock, rip-rap, manufactured sand landscaping materials and rail ballast.

The 2013 development application anticipated strong market demand for the product, noting that population growth forecasts indicated there would be increased residential development in the coming years.

“By 2016, the expected population of the SRRC will be approximately 42,000 people and by 2031, the population is expected to be 78,000 people,” the document stated. “Ipswich population growth has averaged three per cent per annum for the last few years with some centres having significantly higher growth. The quarry will serve both the Ipswich City Council and SRRC needs.”

Largest rock resource

It was noted that several other projects within these regions, including proposed highway upgrades and urban development between Ipswich and Toowoomba, would also benefit from the establishment of the quarry, especially due to the fact that existing quarries would soon be winding down.

“Existing quarries (Purga and Mount Marrow) have only a few years’ life remaining. Mount Walker is the largest identified quarry rock resource that is in proximity to Ipswich. Although there are new/expanded quarries in SRRC, including Cryna, Frazerview, Markwell Creek and Erin View, there is projected growth closer to Ipswich which this development serves,” the application stated.

The quarry is also expected to create 20 to 25 new jobs once the site is operating at full capacity.

Scenic Rim mayor John Brent said the quarry’s approval was subject to 55 conditions – including noise restrictions, dust mitigation and the formation of a community liaison group – to minimise the quarry’s effects on the surrounding landscape and local community.

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