THE go-ahead has been given for a sand quarry to be established on prime river flats near Bathurst.
Bathurst Regional Council has granted Hotham’s Sand, Soil and Gravel per-mission to work a two-hectare parcel of land between Eleven Mile Drive and the Macquarie River.
It is anticipated that 15,000 cubic metres of alluvial sand will be mined annually over 10 years.
Mayor Greg Westman said the approval for the project, a local development, came under delegated authority.
“This is a relatively small operation,” Cr Westman said.
“We’re only looking at two or three truck movements on any one day.
“On some days there may even be none.
“The site is about 50 metres from the river and the development application ticked all the environmental boxes.
“It should be noted we’re talking about alluvial sand. This means it has been dumped there as a result of flooding over many years.”
Council’s director of environmental, planning and building services David Shaw said the land where the quarrying would take place was presently used for agricultural cropping.
“The trouble is it’s really not that productive because of all the sand there,” he said. “When it rains the water is lost because it seeps through the topsoil so quickly.
“The intention is to remove what topsoil there is there, quarry the sand to a depth of about two metres and then remediate it.
“This will be achieved by replacing the mined area with quality topsoil, hence returning it to prime agricultural land. It really is a win, win situation for everyone involved.”
Mayor Westman noted a small excavator, front-end loader and truck would operate from the site.
“Those river flats are a busy place. You will see any number of tractors operating down there at any one time, so noise isn’t an issue,” he said.
“Most people won’t even know there’s a sand quarry there. More importantly, sand is in big demand because it’s needed for everyday tasks in the building industry.”
Mr Shaw said there are about six sand mines in the district, the biggest on the Mid Western Highway just along from Hen and Chicken Lane.
Phill Hotham from Hotham’s Sand, Soil and Gravel said there is massive demand for sand.
“It’s got a million uses, especially with all these new subdivisions coming online,” he said.
“This is only a small-scale operation and when it’s done we will return the land in a better condition than it is now.
“The land use is no more intensive than any farming activity going on down there at the moment.
“Greenacres Turn Farm is right next door and the property where the sand is located grows corn, lucerne and has fat lambs.”