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Lilydale quarry will shut down later this year, ahead of its intended 2016 closure.
Lilydale quarry will shut down later this year, ahead of its intended 2016 closure.

Quarry to close early due to ‘flat’ market

A quarry that has been operating for more than a century will be closed earlier than planned due to unfavourable market conditions.

Raw materials supplier Sibelco Australia recently announced it would close its Lilydale quarry, located in Melbourne, Victoria, before the end of the year.

After 140 years of producing quicklime, hydrated lime and other associated products, the 170ha site had almost exhausted its limestone resource and was already scheduled to be shut down in 2016. However, Sibelco senior regional sales manager Ian Hart said the quarry’s closure date had been brought forward due to flat economic and market conditions.

“Continued cost pressure from our markets has encouraged us to look at our business model and new ways of manufacturing and distribution of our products,” he explained.

“We’ve committed to a consolidation strategy which will see our lime and limestone products produced from our other Sibelco operations in Victoria and southern New South Wales. [These] changes put us in the best place to satisfy our customers over the long term, ensuring continuity and consistency in our supply.”

Sibelco regional operations manager Brian Stokes confirmed the closure of the quarry – which was once Lilydale’s largest employer – would affect many employees. “Sibelco is working closely with our employees to facilitate a successful transition to the next phase of their working lives,” he said.

Urban use

The Lilydale quarry site has been earmarked for urban use after the operation’s closure, and Sibelco has been working with the Victorian Government and Yarra Ranges Council to prepare a long-term master plan for its redevelopment, known as Plan Cave Hill.

A Sibelco spokesperson told Quarry that the proposed master plan envisaged a 15 to 20 year redevelopment program that would allow for the establishment of approximately 2500 new residential dwellings and local retail, community and commercial facilities around a large, central parkland.

“Key historical elements are also proposed to be incorporated into the site’s redevelopment to acknowledge and celebrate the site’s long history of operations, and its close connection to the growth of the Lilydale township and the broader Yarra Ranges region,” the spokesperson added.

Sibelco submitted the proposed master plan to Yarra Ranges Council in July this year. It was still being reviewed at the time of press.

“Sibelco anticipate that further work and collaboration will be required in the coming months to refine and finalise the master plan to the satisfaction of Yarra Ranges Council and key stakeholders prior to its being placed on formal public exhibition in late 2015,” the spokesperson stated.

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Sunday, 21 October, 2018 12:02am
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