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Global Quarry Life Award opens for submissions


HeidelbergCement has launched the fifth edition of its Quarry Life Award which aims to promote sustainable quarry management through a global competition with prizes up to €30,000 ($AUD47,160).

Since the inaugural Award in 2012, the first four editions have seen more than 1400 projects submitted, all with the goal to protect nature and promote a high diversity of flora and fauna in a quarrying context.

Dominik von Achten, the chair of HeidelbergCement’s management board, said there had never been a more important time to facilitate such a competition.

“The time for action is now. The World Economic Forum 2021 Global Risk Report has put biodiversity loss among the five most concerning global risks, both in terms of likelihood and impact,” von Achten said.

“With the competition, HeidelbergCement wants to contribute to the global restoration agenda and works towards a net positive in biodiversity. Our sites can provide valuable habitats for a variety of animal and plant species during and after extraction.”

Australian contribution

There are currently three Australian projects that submitted to the cause, all from the greater Melbourne area. They are all owned by HeidelbergCement subsidiary Hanson Construction Materials.

They are the Clarinda Recycling Facility, managed by the Hanson-owned Alex Fraser Group, and two Hanson-owned quarry and plant operations – one of sand and the other of hard rock, in Langwarrin and Wollert, respectively.

Ken Brown is the Quarry Life Award Co-ordinator for Australia and explained how submissions are largely up to students and researchers, rather than the owners of the sites themselves.

“The three sites are opening their doors to the participants and the rest is up to the students’ and researchers’ imagination and effort,” Brown said.

Brown added that the competition should also be seen as a learning experience, with a wide variety of project types in consideration.

“People should apply for the Quarry Life Award if they want to use their biodiversity knowledge, or learn about biodiversity, in a real world scenario,” Brown said. “There are very few opportunities available to do research on active quarry sites or to interact with companies on biodiversity topics.

“The Quarry Life Award is primarily a biodiversity competition so any project that investigates flora and fauna is certainly within the scope.

“We will also look favourably on ideas that can be subsequently implemented on our sites to improve the biodiversity and rehabilitation outcomes.

“Topics to be addressed could be managing threatened species during extraction, improving habitat and diversity in the site rehabilitation phase or focusing on quarry wetlands which are important refuges for waterbirds and frogs.”

Community benefits

Von Achten said the Award not only benefits quarry operations and wildlife, but the communities which surround them.

“We are committed to maintaining our leadership position in nature conservation. Our exceptional collaboration with diverse stakeholders through the Quarry Life Award plays a large part in this,” von Achten said.

“The Quarry Life Award stimulates the exchange not only between academia and industry, it also strengthens our relationships with local communities.”

The Award is now open for submissions and will close on 18 November, 2021.

On 16 December, each of the national award juries will select up to six projects from their countries to go into the global running for the major prize.

International prize categories include:

  • Biodiversity management.
  • Habitat and species.
  • Beyond quarry borders.
  • Biodiversity and education.
  • Connecting quarries and local communities.
  • Nature-based solutions.

There are also national level awards of €5000 in two separate streams: research or community.

For more information, visit

IQA Awards

The IQA is also managing its own Institute Awards this year, to be announced at the IQA national conference in Newcastle, NSW in October. The IQA Awards include categories for the Gold Environment Award (sponsored by Groundwork Plus) and the Community Innovation and Engagement Award (sponsored by Cement and Aggregate Consulting). For further information about the IQA Awards, visit the IQA website.

Unlike the Quarry Life Awards, individual recipients of the IQA Awards must be IQA members or companies affiliated with the IQA.

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