McGeary Quarries is planning to apply to council early next year for a 25 year lease sand mine in the quarry site just off Newrybar Swap road (Ross Lane).
The plans suggest that there could be up to 440 truck movements per day during peak production phases. The proposed sand mine would operate from 7 am to 6 pm, 5 days a week, and Saturday mornings until 1pm, for a maximum of 25 years, extracting 3.2million tonnes of sand.
The preliminary documents outline the project as follows:
‘The proposed extractive operations involve the following:
- work is to be undertaken in three phases commencing in the north and progressing southward;
- stripping topsoil (for use in minor site works and construction of earthen acoustic/visual mounds);
- extraction using excavators;
- stockpiling of sand;
- treating of sand for acid sulfate soil;
- once a sufficiently sized “pond” has been created, a dredge will be brought to site and located within the dredge pond; and
- loading of sand into haulage trucks for dispatch to market. Access to the site will be via Newrybar Swamp Road.’
Concerned Ross Lane resident Amelia Hicks was alerted to the planned mine last week after a community consultant visited her home on behalf of the company.
Amelia said she was immediately concerned when she realised the number of 32 tonne trucks that would be travelling both east and west on Ross lane. ‘There could be between 28 to 440 additional trucks on Ross Lane each day for the life of this mine. That’s a minimum of about 3 truck movements per hour and up to 40 per hour’, says Amelia.
‘This is a serious traffic concern for locals, not to mention the inevitable damage to the road and increased noise pollution to Ross Lane residents. The mine is planned to operate from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am – 1pm on Saturday so the impact would be felt all day, during the week and the weekend. It would be particularly severe for those travelling during peak times, to and from work or school each day.
‘And despite the impact on local residents the company’s own proposal states that the mine would probably only employ two people.
Amelia also added that she was worried about the potentially significant environmental impacts to our ground water due to the mine being located in the flood zone. The initial summary proposal mentions the need to treat the sand for acid sulphate soils, however, there is no Environmental Impact Statement available to view.
Consultants Planners North have been employed to scope the project. They explain that the project is still very much in the planning stages, and that all governmental and regulatory processes, including the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement, will of course be observed as part of the process.
According to Planners North spokesperson Steve Connelly, ‘We submitted a basic application to the Department of Planning and Environment seeking Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs).
The Secretary of the Department consulted all relevant government departments then issued us with a very comprehensive set of Environmental Assessment Requirements. These SEARs must be addressed as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Development.
We are preparing the EIS, in association with an expert team of environmental, design and engineering consultants. The EIS must include comprehensive environmental management and monitoring measures.
That EIS, when it is completed, will be lodged with the with Council. The EIS will be publicly exhibited for at least 30 days. During this time, submissions will be invited from the public and Council consults with all the government agencies.’
As part of the EIS issues of soil, water, noise, biodiversity, transport, heritage, waste, public safety, visual impact, social and economic factors, and rehabilitation will all be addressed.
Meanwhile, Amelia Hicks is urging residents to stay alert and ready to take action on this issue. If you would like more information on the planned mine or would like to get involved you can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.