Resident Ian Mackay.
Resident Ian Mackay.

Quarry plans raise concern

OPPONENTS of plans for an 88-tonne explosives dump at Moy Pocket yesterday said they would consider seeking Federal Government intervention over the issue.

The plan, to store up to 88 tonnes of explosives, including high explosives, at the Moy Pocket quarry, has alarmed some residents and environmentalists.

The concerns remain, despite claims by the plan’s proponents there is nothing unusual about the idea, which they say will bring economic and safety benefits.

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 quarry could become the site for an explosives storehouse which would supply extractive industry operations throughout South-East Queensland.

Yesterday, the Sunshine Coast Environment Council joined the fight against the proposal, saying they will be asking for Federal intervention under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the same law that stopped the Traveston Crossing dam.

SCEC spokesperson Lindsay Holt said the organisation would campaign against the plan and had lodged a submission to Gympie Regional Council opposing it.

“Apart from taking in a submission, we’ve invited Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to have the Federal Government look at whether it should be a controlled action under the EPBC Act,” he said.

Mr Mackay said few residents had initially been aware of the plan by Orica Quarry Services.

The company has applied to council to have a Special Industry land use, specifically providing for a “bulk storage depot and magazine facility and environmentally relevant activity (celebrity storage)”.

A company spokesperson told The Gympie Times 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.

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

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

According to an Orica spokesperson, the plan would involve the storage of 40 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, 38 tonnes of ammonium nitrate emulsifier and 10 tonnes of high explosive.

A spokesperson said with growth in the economy here, it was no longer viable to transport smaller amounts to individual customers from its Beenleigh depot. The company preferred to shift the chemicals in bulk, he said.

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