News

Asbestos scare closes quarry

An aerial view of the Monkland Quarry where naturally occurring asbestos has been found.
An aerial view of the Monkland Quarry where naturally occurring asbestos has been found. Craig Warhurst

AN asbestos scare has closed Gympie Regional Council’s Monkland quarry.

Following a site visit by Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) Mines Inspectorate, operations were suspended at the Laurenceson Road site on August 6.

Mayor Ron Dyne told The Gympie Times yesterday asbestos had been found at the site previously and dealt with by council staff.

Cr Dyne said staff would normally extract and bury small amounts of the naturally-occurring asbestos in a safe area.

But this time, the DEEDI has told council to take remedial action to protect workers at the mine handling products and the general public, after a QUT study confirmed the rare substance was asbestos.

“Workplace Health and Safety have said any occurrence (of asbestos) is unacceptable,” Cr Dyne said.

Council has known there were small levels of asbestos at the site for 10 years. Now, fibres have been found in air-conditioning dust filters.

At this stage there are no concerns about staff health, and staff who were working at the quarry have now been redeployed in other roles, Cr Dyne said.

As well as closing the quarry indefinitely, DEEDI has ordered council not to use any product sourced from the site until given the all clear.

A council report, to be presented at a meeting next week, said council needed to improve dust monitoring and asbestos spotting practices.

But Mayor Ron Dyne said the amount of asbestos found was minimal and council didn’t consider the asbestos a problem and had dealt with it in the past.

“We’re talking grams in tonnes of rock,” he said yesterday.

But workplace health and safety have advised council any contamination was prohibited.

Cr Dyne said workers at the Monkland quarry were under constant testing. New employees’ lungs are x-rayed before starting work and ongoing monitoring was done to identify if any asbestos had been ingested.

Cr Dyne said so far there had been no recorded ingestion of asbestos.

Council will now need to source rock and other material from outside sources until it can be determined whether the levels of asbestos present are a risk and a clean-up of rock containing asbestos can be completed.

“It will be an added cost,” Cr Dyne said.

“We believed we had it contained before.”

Cr Dyne also had no concerns about dust carrying asbestos particles into the community, because blasts at the site weren’t big enough to stir up the small amounts of asbestos found.

A DEEDI spokesperson said there was a management plan in place to avoid mining and crushing the asbestos material.

“The quarry has an obligation to protect the health and safety of all persons at the quarry and anyone who may be affected as a result of quarry operations,” the spokesperson said.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has since issued an Improvement Notice to the quarry that stipulates appropriate processes are put in place to ensure any quarry material leaving the site does not contain asbestos.

Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health Stewart Bell said prospect of quarry workers contracting asbestos-related illness was negligibly low.

“The amount of material in the rock is very small and, in general, it would require high level exposure over many years to contract disease,” Mr Bell said.

Gympie Times


Two people dead, six injured in stabbing terror

Police officers gather at the site of a multiple stabbing on the Market Square in Turku, Finland

Police shot one suspect and six people were hospitalised

Elderly man says he is not a hypocrite or a bigot

This letter writer rejects the claim his generation is full of bigots and his church is full of hypocrites.

Letter writer from 'older folk' not happy

Redefining marriage 'an attack on freedom': Shelton

Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby. Photo Contributed

'I will always believe the truth about marriage'

Local Partners

Taylor Swift wipes presence off social media

TAYLOR Swift has completely disappeared off social media — and her fans don’t know what to think.

What's On? 10 things to see and do this week

Judah Kelly will be rocking the Muster stage this week

There's plenty to see and do this week

Swedish TV drama turns up heat

Louise Nyvall stars in the Swedish TV series Farang.

Scandinavian crime thriller goes troppo

Aboriginal artists' call to action

Anwar Young, winner of this year's overall prize and last year's young artist prize.

Important messages of survival and healing

Radio host Matt Okine leaps to small screen

Valene Kane, Matt Okine and Harriet Dyer star in the TV series The Other Guy.

First foray into acting a long time in the making

Hollywood’s new highest paid actress

Jennifer Lawrence had to settle for third this year behind Emma Stone and Jennifer Aniston.

CAN you guess who has dethroned Jennifer Lawrence?

Movie trailer dubbed too racy for TV

Alicia Vikander stars in Tulip Fever.

THE trailer for Tulip Fever is so saucy some networks have banned it

New Gympie real estate mag has everything you need

Look out for SOLD ON in The Gympie Times on Wednesday.

The first Gympie edition of Sold On will be out on Wednesday

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.