Drill & Blast

Quarry bid stumbles at environmental hurdle

As previously reported by Quarry, Daracon Group subsidiary Buttai Gravel was issued with environmental assessment requirements for its Martins Creek Quarry Extension Project.

On 29 July, Howard Reed, resource assessments director at the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), wrote a letter to the operator, saying the environmental impact statement it received on 8 July “does not adequately address” those requirements.

According to Reed, key areas relating to “noise, traffic and transport, air quality, water, land, biodiversity and rehabilitation” were not sufficiently covered and a “major revision” was required.

The application would involve the extraction of up to 1.5 million tonnes or rock per year, an expansion into new areas, and an increase in the quarry’s operating hours.

Economic development

Although Buttai Gravel only acquired the 124ha quarry in 2012, the site has been in operation since its establishment in 1915. Martins Creek Quarry has supplied high quality andesite hard rock to the markets of Newcastle, Maitland, Cessnock, Singleton, Port Stephens, the Lower Hunter, the Central Coast, the lower North Coast, and Sydney’s metropolitan regions.

According to a preliminary environmental statement, the quarry’s total resource has been estimated at 51 million tonnes, with an expected extraction lifespan of 41.5 years. It was argued that limiting operations or the closure of the quarry would “significantly impact” the economic development of the region.

A community organisation called Martins Creek Quarry Action Group is contesting the proposal, arguing the expansion would mean there would be increased truck movements, silica dust in the air, damage to the local environment and noise from blasting.

A Daracon Group spokesperson told the Maitland Mercury the DPA’s response was an anticipated part of the application process.

“Daracon will be amending the application in accordance with the department's directions and will then lodge it for the department's consideration and determination,” she reportedly said.

More reading
Hard rock quarry receives environmental criteria
Quarry penalised for early operation

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