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The council-owned Kiwi Point Quarry has been operated by Holcim New Zealand in the Ngauranga Gorge since 2009.
The council-owned Kiwi Point Quarry has been operated by Holcim New Zealand in the Ngauranga Gorge since 2009.

Expansion plans greenlit for mountain side quarry

The Wellington City Council has approved plans to expand Kiwi Point Quarry, 10km north of the New Zealand capital.

On 1 May, councillors approved the planning panel’s recommendations and voted in favour of rezoning land that will allow operations on the quarry’s depleted northern face to transition to the southern face.

The council-owned quarry, which has been operated by Holcim New Zealand in the Ngauranga Gorge since 2009, has been a major supplier of material for road and construction projects in Wellington since the 1920s.

Kiwi Point Quarry has a current output of 300,000 to 350,000 tonnes per annum. It produces normal backfill material, base course and various sized road and concrete aggregates.

Based on the current extraction rate, material on the north face will be exhausted in about two years.

Wellington City Council (WCC) considers Kiwi Point Quarry vital to supporting the city’s future growth. Additionally, the council’s decision is expected to save the city millions of dollars in transport costs.

“Aggregate is a bulky low value product and when transported, it adds to the cost of the product,” WCC senior infrastructure project manager Logen Logeswaran told Quarry. “With Kiwi Point Quarry only 10km from the heart of Wellington City, cost to the end user is reduced.

“An asphalt plant and a concrete plant are located at Kiwi Point. All their aggregate requirements are supplied by Kiwi Point Quarry. Wellington City uses a significant amount of product produced by these plants. Cost is reduced because of the shorter distance from where it produces and where the end product is used.”

Southside operationsz

By 2043 Wellington’s population will increase by 50,000 to 80,000 in central and northern parts of the city, requiring additional amenities, houses and roads.

According to Logeswaran, the quarry’s expansion will ensure the supply of building material for another 15 to 20 years for the city.

Before operations on the south side can commence, the district plan will be made operative:

  • 2 May, 2019 – Letters/emails went out to submitters to inform them of public notice of the decision and the appeal process is open for 30 days. Submitters may choose to lodge an appeal with the NZ Environment Court. 
  • 6 May, 2019 – A public notice goes into the local newspaper and on the council website informing the public of the council’s decision and of the appeal period.
  • 6 May – 18 June, 2019 – 30-day appeal period. Submitters can lodge an appeal on the plan change directly to the Environment Court.
  • Late June/early July – Should no appeals be lodged, WCC officers will report back to council for final approval on the plan change after which it becomes operative in the district plan. All appeals will go through the Environment Court’s appeals process.

Once the plan change becomes operative, Holcim will be able to start work on the south side.

Logeswaran said it was not expected the southside operations would significantly change the quarry’s annual output.

Rehabilitation

Once material on the north face is exhausted, rehabilitation work will begin.

“The resources on the north side are expected to last one to two years,” Logeswaran told Quarry. “When no more aggregate can be extracted safely, the quarry pit will be backfilled. Benches and batters will be recut to ensure stable slopes while benches will be planted and batters hydroseeded.”

With the city’s projected growth, the WCC is also considering how it will meet future demand once the south face’s material is exhausted.

“Once the work in the south side has started council officers will start investigating locations and options for a new quarry. It takes about 10 years to establish a new quarry,” he said.

 

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