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 five years. This type of material is required for the access track network, hardstands, wind turbine foundations and for repair and possibly remediation 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.
Assessment and Approval Process
The establishment and operation of the quarry will be in accordance with a Work Plan and Work Authority. The Work Plan is a legal requirement for a quarry under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 and is approved by the Minister for Resources. The Work Plan outlines the quarry’s proposed processing methods, stability requirements, environmental management program and approach to rehabilitation.
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 quarry pit to cater for the volume of basalt required—the pit is proposed to be approx. 300m x 250m in area;
- A water dam for surface water management and sediment control;
- Internal quarry access tracks;
- Overburden and top soil storage areas;
- Concrete batch plant;
- Crushing and screening; and
- Site office, car parking, workshop and amenities.
The quarry has been designed as a shallow pit to allow extraction near the surface in consideration of the groundwater table and to support rehabilitation back to farmland. The quarry has been positioned within the wind farm, away from occupied residences, with the nearest occupied residence approximately 900m away and the second closest occupied residence approximately 1.2km away.
Positioning of the quarry has also considered native vegetation and waterways, while allowing for a large number of wind turbines to be accessed from the quarry without utilising public roads.
The quarry is a temporary facility to support the Golden Plains Wind farm construction, and it will be rehabilitated following construction.
An air quality study will be undertaken as part of the assessment for the Work Plan to provide a baseline level for comparison purposes during quarry operation.
Noise levels will be modelled around the quarry and at the nearest occupied residence (0.9km). Noise levels at the nearest occupied residence are required to meet the recommended noise limits as specified in the EPA’s Victorian Guidelines Noise from Industry in Regional Victoria (NIRV).
Flora and fauna assessments were conducted across the quarry site. No areas of fauna habitat were identified, and there are only small areas of remnant native vegetation. These areas of vegetation will be avoided by the quarry where possible.
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.
Groundwater monitoring wells were drilled on site and the groundwater level was determined to be between 11-16m below ground level. The quarry pit is not expected to intersect with groundwater as the deepest part of the quarry pit is approximately 10m above the groundwater level. Groundwater monitoring is proposed throughout operation under the Environmental Management Plan.
Airblast and ground vibrations from blasting operations within the quarry will comply with the guideline limits set by DSDBI. Assessments will be conducted to ensure that blasting, including management of flyrock, can be conducted safely, in accordance with the relevant blasting standards.