Environment Minister Judy Edwards has approved a proposed new hard rock quarry at The Lakes, west of Northam, subject to a range of stringent environmental conditions.
This decision comes after the Environmental Protection Authority recommended conditional approval for the project, following a lengthy environmental assessment and the Minister’s consideration of 15 appeals on the EPA’s report and recommendations.
The proposal, by BGC (Australia) Pty Ltd, is to develop a new hard rock quarry next to an existing operation.
Dr Edwards said the conditions aimed to address a number of concerns raised in appeals from residents near the proposed quarry.
A key Ministerial condition would restrict quarry operations to daytime hours on weekdays and on Saturday mornings, rather than late into the night and early morning as proposed by the company.
The company also would have to take action to manage dust emissions, vibration from blasting, and construction noise, as well as ensuring that the quarry did not impact on surface and ground water in the area.
The quarry also would have to be developed in stages to manage impacts on a population of trapdoor spiders found on the site. The company would have to undertake further studies and implement appropriate protection strategies for the spiders, including a translocation program if necessary.
“Nearby residents had raised a range of complaints in respect to the existing quarry and were concerned that the new quarry would lead to significant impacts on the amenity of the local area,” the Minister said.
“Given the 50-year life of the quarry, it is appropriate that a precautionary approach is taken in approving the expansion.
“I therefore have applied conditions to the project which aim to ensure the operation does not adversely impact on local amenity and implement a best practice approach to environmental management and monitoring.
“I also have asked the Department of Environment to amend the licence for the existing quarry operation to take into account factors considered during the assessment of the new quarry.
“In particular, the department will look at the requirements for dust and vibration management and water monitoring and will consider the need for additional conditions relating to noise if necessary.
“The Ministerial conditions also require the company to establish an independently chaired community liaison group to provide a forum for community and stakeholder input into the detailed planning and operation of the quarry.”
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