Golden Plains Wind Farm Onsite Quarry
WestWind Energy is proposing to establish a temporary quarry within the Golden Plains Wind Farm project boundary to supply crushed rock for use during construction.
Following preliminary technical, social and economic assessments a site has been identified on farm land approximately 4km south of Rokewood, immediately east of Meadows Road.
If developed, the quarry will provide large amounts of crushed rock and bulk fill material required to construct the wind farm, and will remain operational for a period of approximately four years. This type of material is required for the access track network, hardstands, wind turbine foundations and for repair and maintenance of local roads.
In previous large scale infrastructure projects, the transport of materials caused impacts to local roads. Having the quarry material available within the project site will minimise the amount of truck movements on the public road network, particularly outside of the immediate project vicinity.
To view, download and print the proposed quarry design map, click here.
Assessment and Approval Process
The establishment and operation of the quarry will be in accordance with an approved work authority from the Minister for Resources under section 77I of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990. (MRSD)
As required under section 77G of the MRSD Act, a work plan has been developed for the Project that addresses specified requirements including a description of the stone extraction, risks to the environment, property or infrastructure as well providing detailed rehabilitation and community consultation plans.
The quarry and all other elements of the Golden Plains Wind Farm are subject to a full assessment under the Environment Effects Act 1978. Given this high level of assessment, an additional separate planning permit is not required for the quarry. The quarry will also require a Cultural Heritage Management Plan to be prepared to ensure that Aboriginal heritage values are adequately considered.
The proposed quarry will include the following features:
- A basalt extraction and crushing pit – approximately 7 hectares in area;
- A detention and sedimentation basin for surface water management;
- Internal quarry access tracks;
- Overburden and top soil storage areas;
- Concrete batching plant; and
- Site office, car parking, workshop and amenities.
The selected quarry site consists of an elevated ‘stony rise’ situated above the surrounding landscape. This has allowed for a shallow extraction pit to be designed resulting in no expected interaction with groundwater and supports rehabilitation back to arable farmland when the wind farms rock requirements have been met.
The quarry has been positioned within the wind farm, away from occupied residences, with the nearest occupied residence approximately 840m away and the second closest occupied residence approximately 1.2km away.
Consideration of native vegetation and local waterways was also undertaken during site selection to ensure impacts associated with the wind farm were avoided or minimised where possible.
The quarry is a temporary facility to support the Golden Plains Wind farm construction, and it will be rehabilitated following construction.
The visual impact of the quarry has been assessed as low- negligible, due to the remote location, and existing planting along the northern boundary of the quarry site. The existing planting, in addition to supplementary planting planned along the western boundary, will assist in screening views from Meadows Road. The quarry has further been designed to reduce visual impact and hide the working face behind the existing ‘stony rise’. Further supplementary vegetation is also being planted on-site to ensure that the visual impact is further mitigated.
The operations of the on-site temporary quarry during construction will be the most concentrated and longest running source of air emissions during construction of the Project. The quarry will operate throughout the projected four-year construction period whereas other components of the Project will involve considerably less excavation over shorter periods. An air quality assessment concluded that there is a low risk to air quality from the quarry.
Noise from the on-site quarry was assessed against the recommended noise levels in the Noise from Industry in Regional Victoria (NIRV) guidelines. The final layout and design of the quarry will be undertaken to ensure all noise limits specified in NIRV are complied with at all neighbouring dwellings.
Flora assessments were conducted across the quarry site. Only small areas of remnant native vegetation. These areas of vegetation will be retained and protected where possible.
WestWind has developed the quarry and overall wind farm to respond to the objectives of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (AH Act) ensuring that harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage must be avoided, and where it cannot be avoided, it must be minimised.
The quarry area will be assessed to identify any cultural heritage sensitivities, and a Cultural Heritage Management Plan will be developed to ensure the appropriate management of cultural issues during development and operation of the proposed quarry.
Ground & Surface Water
Groundwater monitoring wells were drilled on site and the groundwater level was determined to be between 11-16m below ground level. The effects on groundwater are expected to be minimal due to the relatively deep groundwater level and the low permeability of basalt rock. It is not expected that the quarry operations will intersect groundwater with the final pit depth ranging from 1 to 3m above the water table. Monitoring will be undertaken during operation to ensure any interaction is closely observed.
The quarry’s effect on surface water is expected to be minimal, as there are no on-site water features except an overland farm drain to the south. Through the establishment of additional drainage lines and a detention and sedimentation basin, stormwater runoff will be treated before being released back to the environment.
Airblast and ground vibrations from blasting operations within the quarry will comply with, Environmental guidelines – Ground Vibration and Airblast Limits for Blasting in Mines and Quarries that has been prepared by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. Assessments will be conducted to ensure that blasting, including management of flyrock, can be conducted safely, in accordance with the relevant blasting guidelines and standards.
In previous large-scale infrastructure projects, the transport of materials from regional locations caused impacts to local roads. Having the quarry material available within the project site will minimize social impacts by limiting the amount of truck movements on the public road network, particularly outside of the immediate project vicinity.