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Tasmanian quarry development receives EPA approval


The Western Junction Quarry in Breadalbane, northern Tasmania, has received approval by the state’s EPA for a level two permit to expand its output.

Since 1982, the Western Junction site has been operated by Bis Quarries (previously Brambles) and landowner David Hughes.

It is currently allowed to extract, crush and screen up 355,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of basalt.

Hughes has applied for a level two permit to continue quarrying activities, as current basalt rock reserves are depleting.

The land where the expansion will be is currently owned and farmed by Hughes.

Basalt from the quarry is used for construction and building materials that are required for regional development, with Western Junction being a key supplier to northern Tasmania’s civil construction industry. Three quarries currently operate in the area.

The proposed 500,000 tpa expansion will sustain long-term production and add a further 18 years of life to the quarry.

With the Tasmanian Environment Protection Agency (EPA) passing the permit, Northern Midlands Council still must give approval.

“Various environmental issues were considered by the board in its assessment, particularly noise emissions, blasting impacts and air emissions,” EPA board chairperson Warren Jones said.

“The EPA requires that a noise survey be conducted once operations commence in the new pit to confirm the noise assessment predictions. In addition, a suite of conditions are imposed relating to blasting to ensure that Launceston Airport and other sensitive receptors are notified of blasting, and that proper blast design and monitoring occurs.

“The proponent will also be required to control dust emissions from drilling, blasting, transport of materials and during processing of materials.”

Conditions of the EPA approval of the new pit, which is located near Launceston Airport, includes 24 hours’ advance notice of blasting activity to the airport and residents.

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