Mining lease extension bid

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Mining lease extension bid

Diminishing sand and limestone materials has resulted in a local mining company seeking a lease to continue operations for the next 100 years.

Sandyridge Holdings submitted a mining lease application to the Department of Energy and Mining (DEM) in January.

This was revealed in a report tabled at Grant District Council’s ordinary meeting last week.

Sandyridge Holdings is the property owner and operator of a current sand and limestone quarry located at Compton.

Mining activities started in 1976 in an area known as the ‘Butcher’s Sand Pit’.

Council’s development services team leader John Best said it was understood sand and limestone materials within the current mining leases were diminishing.

“Mining activities have occurred in the south eastern portions of the land in accordance with the previous mining leases,” Mr Best said.

“It is noted that a small portion of the current mining activities has occurred outside of the lease areas.”

The proposed new mining lease seeks approval from the department to undertake sand and limestone extraction from 10 pits, located to the south of the existing mining leases.

“Each of the 10 pits has an average expected lifespan of 17 years, therefore it is estimated to provide sufficient material and landfill capacity for at least another 100 years,” Mr Best said.

A satellite image outlining the proposed 10 pits and staging plan was supplied in the report.

Mr Best said the operations were proposed to continue as open pit mining with the product supplying the local construction industry.

Meanwhile, Mr Best said the site would progressively be rehabilitated.

“At the completion of mining activities, it is a statutory requirement the site is rehabilitated, to return the site to its pre-mining, cropping and grazing land use,” he said.

“Each new area excavated and refilled with approved waste will be in accordance with Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Licence.

“It should be noted the acceptance of inert waste at the site is undertaken in accordance with EPA Licence 50456 and the EPA approved Landfill Environment Management Plan (LEMP).”

Sandyridge Holdings has also obtained development approval from council to undertake waste sorting and processing including crushing, grinding and chipping.

Mr Best said council officers had recently been contacted by some nearby residents who expressed concerns about the application.

The application identified eight residential dwellings located within 400 metres of the lease area.

Mr Best said potential impacts on the residents included air quality, noise, litter control, groundwater quality, native vegetation, visual amenity and public health.

“The application documents identify dust as a potential risk to air quality, with dust mitigation managed using a water-spray tanker,” he said.

“The application documents do not envisage a change to the current production values, therefore the new lease areas are unlikely to increase the impacts of noise at the closest receptors.

“Understanding by the applicant that all transport movements to and from the site is subject to EPA requirements around load covering and restraint.

“The application documents outline a ridged regime of fill material to ensure that only inert waste goes to landfill.”

It has also been proposed four native trees within pit area seven will be removed, however Mr Best said approval for the removal of native vegetation may be required before starting pit seven.

Meanwhile, as part of council development approval additional native vegetation is to be planted to screen the property from the mine operations.

“As part of the conditions for this approval, the replacement of native vegetation that dies, is required to the reasonable satisfaction of council,” Mr Best said.

“In relation to visual amenity and landscaping, council officers inspected the Sandyridge Holdings site on March 9.

“A substantial amount of the landscaping has been completed. However, in isolated locations some replanting will be required.”

Mr Best said council officers would follow up with the site manager to ensure replanting occured in a timely manner.

In regards to public health, Mr Best said the document identified mine sites could pose public safety hazards from heavy machinery and open quarry pits.

“This risk will be primarily managed with security infrastructure, such as security fencing, batter slopes and safety signage,” he said.

Council was invited by the department to make written submission in relation to the application.

Council resolved at its meeting to support the application ‘in principle’ stating this will be subject to highlighting the need to minimise any potential impacts on local residents.

It was also resolved as part of council’s submission that oversight from the department was required to ensure compliance and appropriate management practices occur at the site at all times.

Department tenements officer Julie Batty said the submission would assist in determining whether to grant or refuse the application and the terms and conditions on which it should be granted.

Ms Batty said in addition to the application form the applicant was required to submit a mining proposal.

This describes the existing environment, type of operations proposed, an assessment of the environmental impacts of the proposed operations and a rehabilitation and closure plan.

An electronic copy of the proposal has been made available on the Department for Energy and Mining website.

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