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The Barro Group has applied to extract more than one million tonnes of rock a year from Burrum Quarry on the Sunshine Coast. Image courtesy: Sunshine Coast Daily.
The Barro Group has applied to extract more than one million tonnes of rock a year from Burrum Quarry on the Sunshine Coast. Image courtesy: Sunshine Coast Daily.

State-owned quarry awaits decision on expansion

A quarry owned and operated by the state of Queensland for more than 40 years has handed over the operational reigns to a local company that has requested permission to expand operations.

Burrum Quarry has been in operation intermittently since the 1970s and is located approximately two kilometres west of the Sunshine Coast’s Beerburrum. It is now being leased long-term by the Barro Group after the state government decided to appoint a company “competent to extend the quarry to meet its full potential” in 2014.

Barro Group has requested permission from the Sunshine Coast City Council to extract more than one million tonnes of materials per annum – including trachtyte and sandstone – from a land area of approximately 23 hectares, Barro Group’s general manager Ian Ridoutt told Quarry.

“Burrum Quarry is located in a unique location amongst pine plantation but also in the general locality of the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains,” Ridoutt said.

“The future infrastructure needs for north Brisbane and the southern Sunshine Coast, combined with the needs of the local development associated with the projected high population growth in the local area, cannot be economically met by existing extractive sites.

“The better utilisation of the Burrum Quarry resource will be essential to meet future extractive needs.”

Community objections

During the recent public consultation period, a small group of Beerburrum residents circulated a petition to protest the proposed quarry expansion.

The issues raised by the Beerburrum Action Group included concerns about the quarry’s proximity to residential homes, noise, truck movements, local economic benefits and the current road infrastructure, as well as an alleged lack of consultation with traditional landowners and the area’s significant link to the heritage-listed Glasshouse Mountains.

Ridoutt addressed the claims made in the petition on his company’s website about Burrum Quarry. However, when asked to comment on one of the group’s concerns – the quarry’s potential economic benefits for the local community – Ridoutt told Quarry, “The quarry will provide important economic benefits to the area, which include direct and associated employment opportunities with the potential to create up to 30 equivalent full time jobs.”

Expansion plans

A development application (DA) for the proposed expansion project was submitted to the Sunshine Coast City Council in November 2016, after an “exhaustive” environmental assessment of the site.

The DA outlines the company’s request to extend the two existing pits on the site, before removing overburden and quarrying trachtyte and sandstone via drilling and blasting. The operation will be restricted to an area of 23.38 hectares within the state-owned pine plantation.

The quarry is more than three kilometres from any residential dwelling in any direction and Ridoutt reiterated that although extraction would move progressively eastwards over the next 10 to 20 years, the quarry would “never be closer than 1.2 kilometres” from residences.

Ridoutt added once the quarry is fully operational, its output would fluctuate in accordance with the needs of the community.

“There are some very major road and rail projects that are planned for the local area and these projects will require millions of tonnes of quarry material,” Ridoutt explained, adding, “Burrum Quarry is a high quality resource capable of producing a range of products, from asphalt aggregates and rail ballast to a full range of roadbase and fill materials.”

The Barro Group operates more than 45 quarry sites throughout Australia and is a leading independent supplier of concrete and other raw construction materials.

More reading
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Sunday, 21 October, 2018 04:19am
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