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Proposal to build hard rock quarry finds a place at Royalla

This article was originally published on 16 Apr 2021, is property of The Riot ACT. It appears in full on their website here.

The company behind a proposal to construct and develop a new hard rock quarry near Royalla has made its intentions public to crack the increasing demand for hard rock aggregates for local and regional projects.

Monaro Rock, a joint venture between Monaro Mix and Pacific Formwork, says the proposed quarry will produce 750,000 tonnes of hard rock each year at full capacity.

The project has earmarked a site about 5 kilometres north of the Monaro Highway and Old Cooma Road intersection near the ACT and NSW border.

The project’s principal environmental consultant, Nick Warren from RW Corkery, told Region Media the quarry is in the early stages of the development planning process. He has written a letter to residents in the nearby area seeking their views.

“Our perspective is that the more people know about the application, the better, as we want to understand local issues and concerns,” Mr Warren said.

A map showing the site and topography for the proposed rock quarry near Royalla. Photo: Property of The Riot ACT and those that supplied it.

In the letter to residents, Mr Warren said a development application would be assessed as a State Significant Development, which means the decision would be assessed by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, rather than the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, which will be made aware of the proposal.

In certain circumstances, a decision may be made by the Independent Planning Commission.

“We are in the early stage of the development planning process and need to first prepare an environmental impact statement and present this to the community, Council and the NSW government. This is a lengthy process and we cannot discuss a likely start date at this time,” Mr Warren said.

The development application would also include assessments of the potential impact of transportation, water resources, dust and noise generation, vegetation clearing, social and visual impacts, and the impact on Aboriginal and historical heritage.

“Preliminary survey and studies are being completed to better understand the local conditions with regards to existing noise levels, traffic on local roads, vegetation and the presence of threatened species,” Mr Warren said.

He said there was significant demand for rock products in the region and said having a local supply would help keep local resource and housing prices competitive.

“We have estimated that the Canberra and regional market consumes in the order of 1.5 million tonnes of hard rock aggregates each year and this is growing steadily,” Mr Warren said.

“You may add to this the Barton Highway upgrade and the Snowy Hydro 2.0 projects that will draw an additional 250,000 tonnes per year from local resource sites. The result is a significant projected increase in demand to suit the needs of Canberra and Queanbeyan residents for roads, infrastructure and general construction.

“By keeping the supply and operation local, we will be keeping resource materials at competitive rates and the cost to consumers low. This may help to keep the price of house construction and therefore house prices low,” he said.

Hard rock products in the region are currently supplied by three companies, Boral, Holcim and Hanson.

Mr Warren also said the project would hope to create additional employment opportunities locally.

“Monaro Rock is a joint venture between Monaro Mix and Pacific Formwork,” Mr Warren said. “Between these companies, there are 75 years of local and independent operations and the employment of 200 staff.

“The quarry development is intended to directly supply the operations of its parent companies as well as other construction and infrastructure projects.”

Personnel from Monaro Rock and RW Corkery will be available to answer community questions at the gate at the end of Monaro Station Road/Mates Drive between 8:00 am and 10:00 am tomorrow (17 April). You can also register to receive updates on the project.

The below comments were posted by members of the public prior to 20 Apr 2021:

"A new hard rock quarry has opened halfway between Cooma and Nimmitabel recently. It will probably provide aggregate for the Snowy pumped hydro project which is well under way. A massive concrete batch plant is nearing completion at Polo Flat." ~ Capital Retro
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ABC News aired a segment on the Quarry Proposal. Recording of segment linked below: Credits to Nicole Barnes for providing.

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