You may have missed it- Glasshouse quarry’s big growth plans (July 25)

HANSON’S Glasshouse Quarry is planning to double its annual extraction rate pending the submission of a development application to the Sunshine Coast Council.
The company aims to increase the annual extraction from 600,000 tonnes per annum to 1.2 million tonnes per annum in two stages.
Ahead of lodging its plans to council, Hanson reached out to local residents to explain the plans.
In a letter to neighbouring residents, Glasshouse Quarry manager, Chris Wilson, said the application will “seek approval to increase the annual extraction volume and the depth of the quarry without increasing the existing approved extraction area footprint”.
“The DA seeks to ensure the quarry can continue to provide a high-quality supply of quarry products for the local Sunshine Coast construction industry and vital council and government-led projects.”
But local residents have expressed concern around proposed extensions to blasting times, increased dust and noise production and the further impact to local roads and intersections with a doubling of heavy haulage movements through the Glass House Mountains.
Local resident, Steve Ralph, said his main concern was about the impact the increased activity could have on an underground river.
“There are farmers further down through Glass House Mountains that are dependent on that water,” he said.
“If they break into that groundwater and water washes off the quarry into it, wouldn’t that contaminate the groundwater as you get the runoff from chemicals out of the rock, plus the stuff they use to blast the rock?
“I’ve been told there is no silica content but I beg to differ. Even if that is the case, what about all the residual blasting product if that got into the groundwater?
But Mr Wilson said the quarry’s operations would not intercept or impact on groundwater.
“The existing quarry is operating in a ‘tight’ geological formation which does not contain significant quantities of groundwater or permit transmission of groundwater,” he said.
“Furthermore, assessments for the proposed changes to the existing quarry recommend groundwater monitoring be implemented prior to commencement of quarrying below the existing approved depth level.
“Hanson will implement these recommendations.”
The application also proposes to extend quarry operations to align with hours prescribed by the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme for the extractive industry; 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturday.
Mr Ralph said he was concerned about the proposal to extend blasting times and the impact this would have for residents as well as the general amenity for visitors to the Glass House Mountains.
Mr Ralph said he felt this was “not a good look” for visitors to the area, especially those visiting Mt. Coonowrin which sits in relatively close proximity to the quarry site.
“Currently blasting is limited until 3pm in the afternoon for blasting but they want to go to 5pm,” he said. “There are also a lot of tradespeople in the area who go to work early so the blasting during the day doesn’t upset them too much but imagine getting home after a long day of work, battling traffic, and sitting down to relax and then boom!”
Mr Wilson said the company would work with the public to minimise impacts.
“Hanson is committed to operating respectfully within the local community to minimise impacts from our operations to the greatest extent possible,” Mr Wilson said. “This includes a continued commitment to open communication with our neighbours.”
The proposed plan is set to increase the approved depth of the existing quarry from 18m AHD (Australian Height Datum) to -48m AHD, rather than expand the existing approved extraction area footprint of the quarry.
A Hanson Glasshouse Quarry spokesperson confirmed the DA proposal would seek approval to extract approximately 65m deeper than what is currently approved.
Mr Ralph also cites underlying community concern that increased digging and blasting to the proposed depths near to Mt. Coonowrin could cause damage to the mountain. Glass House Mountains resident Ron Gillinder reiterated this concern, questioning the long-term effects of sustained and increased blasting to the national heritage listed mountains.
“I’m concerned about the continual blasting from the quarry near the base of Mt. Coonowrin, and the residual geological effects on the Mountain,” said Mr. Gillinder.
Mr Wilson said securing the operational future of the existing quarry would allow the company to keep up with the demand for quarry products which were essential for everything from small residential projects through to major state and council infrastructure programs.
“The Glasshouse quarry is an important part of the supply chain for the growing construction industry on the Sunshine Coast. The quarry is a designated Key Resource Area which is recognised in the State Planning Policy for its importance to economic development within the region,” he said.
“Prior to lodgment, we have been actively speaking with our direct neighbours and the wider community about our future plans and would encourage them to contact us if they have any questions We will remain in touch as the DA process progresses and are available to answer any questions the community may have.”
To find out more email glasshouseinfo@hanson.com.au or visit glasshousequarry.com.au.