Load & Haul

State vows to tackle urban encroachment

It’s well known that many quarries are situated close to urban development to minimise the amount of transport required to deliver construction materials. However, continued urban expansion presents numerous challenges for the quarry industry.

To address these issues, South Australian Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis and Planning Minister John Rau have released the final report for the Resource Area Management and Planning (RAMP) project – a joint initiative between SA’s Department of State Development and Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

The project examined numerous extractive mineral resources operations in the Greater Adelaide Region in order to identify where complementary changes could be made to the state’s extractive and planning development systems to minimise land use conflict.

“With growing urban development, we need to update and improve the way the state’s planning and mining legislation and regulations interact to share information at relevant stages so we can continue to maintain ongoing access to long life valuable extractive resources and minimise potential land use conflicts between incompatible uses,” Koutsantonis said.

The report contained a number of recommendations, including the need to:

  • Review and update best practice policy tools and guides for existing and future operations.
  • Boost local government awareness of strategic mineral resources.
  • Provide ongoing assistance to the industry to mitigate impacts.

The final report also recommended a review for designating transport routes and providing better signage of extractive operations.

“The recommendations will go a long way to providing certainty in maintaining housing and construction affordability for urban development through maintaining access to the raw materials, while better dealing with the impacts that can arise from quarrying through planning approaches,” Koutsantonis said.

The implementation of the recommendations are underway, with a reference plan of active mining operations by council areas for use in development assessment processes currently in progress.

Securing the quarry industry’s future
Koutsantonis highlighted the importance of the quarry industry within the state, saying that it “generates economic activity in construction and house and road building” and that it produced $163 million in construction materials in 2013.

“By ensuring important deposits are identified and details are made available to planners, we can minimise conflicts from incompatible developments and preserve appropriate separation distances between mining and residential areas, which can be reassessed following the closure of mining and quarrying,” he said.

“Through this initiative we are working towards a more collaborative, strategic approach for decisions on land use priority to be reflected in the planning, development and management and operations in the Greater Adelaide Region and major regional centres.”

The news was welcomed by the quarry industry, with Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia’s SA state director Todd Hacking saying that “the appropriate suite of policies will protect these materials and ensure SA will meet its future infrastructure needs in the most economic, sustainable and socially responsible manner”.

The full report can be downloaded via www.minerals.dmitre.sa.gov.au

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