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Explosive issue at Moy Pocket

Moy Pocket resident Ian Mackay at the planned magazine site.
Moy Pocket resident Ian Mackay at the planned magazine site. Renee Pilcher

A PLAN to store up to 88 tonnes of explosive chemicals, including high explosives, at Moy Pocket, has alarmed some residents.

But proponents of the plan said yesterday there was nothing unusual about the idea, which they say will bring economic and safety benefits.

And Gympie Regional Council said the plan had many safety and planning hoops to get through before it could go ahead.

Nearby resident Ian Mackay said the plan could see the Moy Pocket quarry become the site for an explosives storehouse, which would supply extractive industry operations throughout south-east Queensland.

He said while only a few residents seemed to be aware of the plan at this stage, they had only until August 27 to make submissions to council on the issue.

The plan, by Orica Quarry Services, involves an application to council to allow a Special Industry land use, specifically providing for a “bulk storage depot and magazine facility and environmentally relevant activity (chemical storage)”.

An Orica spokesperson yesterday said the firm was an important supplier of explosives to quarry operations in the region and a storage site at Moy Pocket would be easier and safer than supplying its Gympie and Sunshine Coast customers from its current Beenleigh depot.

Council Planning and Development Committee chairman Ian Petersen said the plan still had a long way to go, in addition to the public submission process to council.

It would have to meet the requirements of three former government agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Authority, since amalgamated into the new Department of Environment and Resource Management.

It would then have to go through council’s planning processes.

THE plan to store explosives on the quarry site involves the storage and distribution of 40 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, 38 tonnes of ammonium nitrate emulsifier and 10 tonnes of high explosive.

The Orica spokesperson said that, with growth in the economy here, it was no longer viable to transport smaller amounts to individual customers from its Beenleigh depot.

He said the company preferred to shift the chemicals in bulk.

Continuing to distribute from afar would also mean extra truck movements on the road, “which we do try to minimise,” he said.

“It is easier and safer to transport more product in bulk and distribute it from there to customers.

“The material is explosive, but petrol tankers go through metropolitan streets all the time.

“There are many products more dangerous.

“We shift this sort of material around often and incidents involving it are extremely rare.

“Our trucks are maintained up to and beyond requirements and we track them all by GPS.

“Design requirements for the site include safety circles, under regulations which are strictly enforced by the Queensland government.”

He said the regulations were designed to protect not only neighbours but people in occupied buildings on the site.

“We won’t add noise and there will be a minimal number of truck movements; in terms of long haul deliveries, a couple a week.”

But Mr Mackay says there are already significant safety concerns associated with trucks on Moy Pocket and Kenilworth-Eumundi Roads.

“The addition of trucks carrying large quantities of explosive into and out of the bulk store adds a whole dimension to safety on the road,” he said this week.

“This doesn’t just affect adjoining landholders, it has implications and dangers over a much wider area.”

He predicted strong opposition to the plan.

Gympie Times


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