A lease extension set in stone


In an industry where the maximum life of a quarry is usually 50 years, one SA site was recently given a lease extension of up to 140 years. Why is this such a special event?

The Linwood Quarry has already been around a long time – 141 years, to be exact.

And it’s been on quite a journey in that time.

Located in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, between Marino, Seacliff Park and Hallett Cove, Linwood was first opened in 1882 to provide limestone to the nearby Brighton Cement Works.

A decade later, the operation had become the South Australian Portland Cement Company.

Opened by the former Adelaide Brighton Cement, now known as Adbri, Linwood Quarry produced product that would go on to be used in asphalt, road-sealing aggregates, concrete aggregates and road base materials.

Adelaide Brighton Cement conducted drilling and blasting, crushing and screening, and product sales at the site for 74 years before turning the quarry over to Quarry Industries in 1956.

Quarry Industries was purchased by Boral in 1994 and the Linwood Quarry changed hands for the third – and final – time.

Before the Linwood Quarry made headlines at the start of 2023 for its longer-than-average 140-year lease extension, it was already a unique site given its “cheek by jowl” location with suburban development.

While having the quarry sit so snugly near residential areas has posed challenges in the form of dust and air pollution complaints, Boral worked closely with the 5049 Coastal Community Association (CCA) to mitigate the risks.

The 5049 CCA works closely with residents in over 2300 homes in South Australia’s 5049 postcode and represents their concerns to local, state and federal governments.

“There has been ongoing monitoring and campaigning about the impacts of blasting and dust within the community led by the association over 40-plus years,” 5049 CCA said on its website.

“Whilst there have been significant improvements as a result of community pressures, led by the association over the years, it is still important to continue to input into the long-term operations and development of the quarry. Boral have received awards for their site management and innovation.”

Indeed, Boral has received two Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA) recognitions in 2015, and one from Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia (CCAA) in 2012 for its work on the Linwood quarry.

“The Linwood Quarry’s approach to daily operational management is influenced by feedback proactively gathered from residents about their experience of the site’s performance,” CCAA said on its website.

“Using a broad approach, this feedback has allowed the site’s management to become more responsive to community concern through higher awareness, better use of the quarry’s mitigation measures, and a reinvigoration of the site’s community relations efforts.”

The current mine operations plan (MOP) for the Linwood Quarry was approved by the Department for Energy and Mining in 2008 but, 10 years on, Boral began the process of trying to get the operation’s lease extended.

And although the extension was ultimately granted, it wasn’t an easy process, with Boral campaigning for over six years.

The application was made available for public comment in 2019, receiving 11 submissions and prompting the Department of Energy and Mining to push Boral for additional information and responses. Boral submitted its response in 2020 and waited three years for the answer that it was after.

“After six years of hard work and dedication, the Boral team in South Australia has successfully secured a lease extension of up to 140 years for their operations at Linwood Quarry,” Boral said in a social media announcement.

Isn’t that a long lease extension?

The extension length for Linwood was, in a word, unprecedented. Most quarries deplete resources within five years of starting.

Some sites can stay open for upwards of 35 years, but that’s more the exception than the rule. Take another of Boral’s sites, Karkarook Park in Victoria, for example, which closed down just three years after first sand was extracted.

According to Canada’s Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, pits and quarries are, by nature, “self-consuming”.

“Once a quarry’s stone, sand and gravel have been fully extracted, it’s no longer necessary to keep it open,” the organisation explained on its website.

“Unlike most other industrial uses, the sand and gravel operation is a temporary use that is not only making an important contribution to the economy but is simultaneously in the process of developing lands (and waters) for other uses.

“These uses can be anything from parks with fish and wildlife habitat to new residential subdivisions.”

But for the Linwood Quarry, it will be a long time before it is rehabilitated into a park or subdivision.

The extension was considered a feather in the cap of Boral chief executive officer Vik Bansal, who’s company has recorded strong financial results off the back of the Linwood Quarry.

Bansal said the company is also well positioned to continue successful operations into the future.

“We now have in place a flatter and broader organisational structure that positions the business closer to the frontline and the customer,” he said. “Under this model, the regional concrete and quarry business units will have responsibility for day-to-day execution, ensuring proximity to the customer while driving greater alignment and accountability. Importantly, though, they will manage their assets, the operation, the work, and our people in a standardised way.

“The new operating model also emphasises the significant opportunity we see for our recycling business to contribute to the circular economy and support our decarbonisation objective.


“I believe that re-carbonation of concrete is not discussed enough, and we intend to bring it to the table as part of the Boral decarbonisation journey.

“We also continue to assess opportunities to transition to renewable electricity sources, with Boral entering into a renewable power purchase agreement during 1H FY23 (the first half of the 2023 financial year) and remain focused on accelerating penetration of our market leading lower-carbon concretes.

“The extension is a major achievement that ensures a continued supply of raw materials to the South Australian building and construction industry.”

With Linwood’s 140-year extension now set in stone, the questions remains whether any other quarries around Australia will be in a position to follow suit. •

For more information, visit boral.com.au

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