Hanson Australia has told Quarry about its plans to reduce the environmental impacts of the Brandy Hill quarry expansion in New South Wales after it was approved by Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley.
The Brandy Hill Quarry in Port Stephens, New South Wales has been granted approval from the Federal Government to expand its production from 700,000 tonnes per annum to 1.5 million tonnes per year and to continue operating for the next 30 years.
The Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley approved the application and responded to community concerns about the potential impact of an expansion on neighbouring areas of koala habitat.
“I recognise that the proposal has been subject to a high profile public campaign that has tapped into the genuine concerns we all share about koalas and bushfire impacted areas,” Ley said.
“The clear finding from the NSW Government and the Commonwealth Department is that Brandy Hill’s expansion, to be staged over the next 25 years, will not rob the area of critical koala habitat.
“The 74ha koala corridor can, however, play an important role in nurturing local populations and in delivering a net gain for local koalas by providing better quality habitat than is there at present.”
It is expected that the expansion will assist Sydney’s growing demand for aggregates.
According to an independent survey commissioned by Minister Ley, between one and two koalas could be found within the development area, with most trees at the site being lower quality koala habitat. The survey concluded that it was likely koalas seen near Brandy Hill were from outside the area that is being cleared.
A Hanson spokesperson told Quarry the company welcomed the Minister’s decision to approve Brandy Hill, and it is committed to protecting local wildlife.
“Hanson welcomes the decision by the Federal Minister for the Environment to approve the Brandy Hill Quarry Expansion Project,” the spokesperson said.
“This decision paves the way for the commencement of operations under the new development consent and is particularly welcomed by our hard working staff at the Brandy Hill quarry.”
According to Hanson, the approval will allow existing jobs at Brandy Hill to continue, while supporting 150 indirect jobs within the Hunter region.
“There are limited hard rock resources available between Newcastle and Sydney and the Brandy Hill Quarry will meet the growing demand from construction and other infrastructure in the Hunter, Newcastle and Maitland regions as well as greater Sydney,” the Hanson spokesperson said.
“Hanson is committed to protecting all wildlife and recognises the importance of the koala to the Australian community. Over the past six years, the project has been refined to reduce environmental impacts.”
The spokesperson said Hanson has vowed to understand community concerns, and will revegetate the 74ha koala habitat corridor mentioned by Minister Ley, conserve 450ha of vegetation under a biodiversity offset, construct new bus bays and a pathway along Brandy Hill Drive, enclose processing equipment to manage dust and noise, and develop a program of community engagement and events.
“With the approval of the expansion, Hanson has dedicated an area of 74ha to koala habitat establishment that would be replanted in five stages, investing over $2 million across the 10-year program.
“The establishment of this habitat will ultimately provide koala habitat that is of greater quality than currently exists as Hanson will also implement supplementary measures to improve the habitat.
“This includes bushfire suppression, drought protection, appropriate fencing, weed management and feral animal controls. The expansion will not impact the existing east-west corridor of habitat until the 74 hectares has been established over 10 years.”
For more information about the Brandy Hill Quarry expansion development, visit the Hanson website.