Dowes Quarry on the Mount Lindesay Highway near Tenterfield.
Dowes Quarry on the Mount Lindesay Highway near Tenterfield.

Blasting footage reviewed after complaints about quarry

A Northern NSW quarry is being closely monitored after a number of complaints in recent months.

In a February update on Dowes Quarry and the Sunnyside Processing Plant at Tenterfield, the Environmental Protection Authority said it was continuing to check that operators were complying with the licence conditions.

"The EPA issued the quarry operator with a formal warning in May 2020, following our investigation of a report from the community that quarrying activities were being carried out at Dowes on a public holiday," a spokesperson from the EPA said.

 

An aerial view of Dowes Quarry.
An aerial view of Dowes Quarry.

"Our investigations found that Dowes and Sunnyside are applying water and dust suppressant to haul roads, processing equipment and stockpiles at the sites in accordance with accepted best practice.

"In addition, the EPA has requested further dust mitigation and monitoring measures to be implemented at both sites.

"We reviewed blast footage and weather data from Dowes following several complaints of excessive dust generation during blasting.

"Our investigations found that Dowes is appropriately assessing on-site weather conditions prior to undertaking blasting to ensure no blasts occur in unfavourable conditions (such as high winds) so dust emissions are effectively minimised."

 

The operators of Dowes Quarry have plans to expand operations.
The operators of Dowes Quarry have plans to expand operations.

It comes as a development application to extend and expand operations at Dowes is being assessed by the Northern Region Planning Panel.

According to the environmental impact statement, the proposal would allow the applicant to "continue and extend operations to extract the recoverable quartzose rock to produce a range of ivory-coloured stone products used in the manufacture of decorative concrete and landscaping products and road pavement materials".

If approved, the extraction area would be increased by 4.4ha, with up to 230,000 tonnes of rock extracted per annum.

Total extraction for the quarry is not to exceed 4.8 million tonnes.

A public determination meeting was held in December, but the panel unanimously voted to defer a decision after hearing concerns from local residents.

The council will now commission an independent review of the human health risk assessment, its adequacy and the proposed mitigation measures, and any gaps in the documentation.

A report will be submitted by the end of March.

Anyone with concerns about Dowes Quarry or the Sunnyside Processing Plant should contact the EPA's Environment Line on 131 555 or email info@epa.nsw.gov.au.



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