Screens & Feeders

Highway upgrade scuttles quarry expansion bid

The expansion application was for the Bagotville hard rock quarry, located south of Ballina in New South Wales.

The owners sought to increase the quarry’s maximum extraction rate to 100,000m3 per annum and to operate the site – which has been operating since November 2011 – for a maximum 25-year period or until a total of 2.39 million m3 had been extracted.

The operation was originally granted the licence to extract a total resource of 700,000m3 at a maximum rate of 50,000m3 per annum via the quarrying of two knolls, which would level the site for sugar cane cultivation. However, the new application proposed a different plan, which involved the quarrying of two pits approximately 20m deep.

‘Critical’ infrastructure

One of the pits fell on land earmarked for development as part of the proposed Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade. This section of the upgrade was deemed a “critical state significant infrastructure” project, meaning it was considered essential to the state for economic, environmental or social reasons.

NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) recommended the proposal be refused on this basis but the applicant argued that due to the fact that the RMS had not yet acquired the land, the quarry owners were “entitled to continue using their land for the operation and development of their business, without influence from the RMS in respect of the proposed highway project”.

It was also noted that several other existing and proposed extractive projects in the region relied heavily on the same haulage route the Bagotville quarry uses. A Ballina Shire Council assessment report suggested the increased truck movements associated with the proposed quarry expansion, combined with the other operations’ haulage activities, could potentially have a negative cumulative impact on residents in the area.

The consent authority for the region, the NSW Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), backed the council’s assessment at a recent meeting and refused the expansion.

“The assessment raised significant issues with regard to the impacts of the proposed development on the Pacific Highway upgrade and the application did not adequately demonstrate that the potential cumulative impacts from haulage trucks could not reasonably be addressed by conditions of consent,” Northern JRPP chair Garry West explained.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend