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Sand operation seeks new tailings dam

The current tailings dam has reached capacity and an additional one is required for anticipated future demand for sand products.

The new dam would be 6800m2, giving a water volume of about 4000m3. The dams will be rotated annually to recover the settled sand for reuse.

“The new tailings dam will basically replicate the one I’ve got so that the current dam can be cleared out,” said David Rowell, the site operator. “It will allow for the rotation of dams.”

According to the environmental effects report lodged with the Tasmanian Environmental Protection Agency, the tailings will be “sand not suitable for the range of products currently supplied by the washery”.

“The sand is inert, will not break down into other products or impact water quality or chemistry,” the report reads. “A new market has emerged for the fine sand. The material will be removed from the dam and sold to a cement contractor for use as a high quality fine additive in that organisation’s product.”

Intensive facility

The 2681ha site extracts, screens and washes up to 12,000m3 of sand per year, and there are about 10 truck movements on and off the site per day.

The site includes a sand washing facility that supplies concrete sand, hot mix sand and filter sand. It has been a working quarry since the mid-1970s and has been operated by David Rowell since 1990.

The sand is used in a range of industries across Tasmania due to its unique properties and the washed sand’s ability to form a highly specialised product.

A sand washing facility uses water to grade and size the sand, making it a water-intensive process. The operation captures, treats and recycles the water to reduce demand in the process, and the volume of water being lost. The pond would increase the volume of water available for bush fire fighting.

Comments with the Waratah-Wynyard Council and the EPA closed on January 15.


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