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Black Hill quarry operator called to account for rehabilitation

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Black Hill residents have questioned an application to extend a quarry lease, saying there is a lack of rehabilitation on site.

The quarry operator Woodbury’s Haulage and Earthmoving has applied to the Cessnock City Council to amend a Land and Environment Court Order to keep the quarry operating until 2026. 

However, the Black Hill Environment Protection Group (BHEPG) are saying that the quarry should be brought to a close as the rehabilitation conditions of the original order have not been met.

BHEPG spokesman Terry Lewin said locals in the area did not believe that Woodbury’s has any intention of carrying out the rehabilitation of the site.

In 1996 BHEPG took Woodbury’s to the Environment and Land Court to ensure the conditions would be tightened to include rehabilitation.

“The particular condition that was relevant… essentially progressive rehabilitation linked to production, that you systematically moved from one end of the quarry to the other, that you didn’t get to move into new areas of the quarry until you’d demonstrated that you’d started rehabilitation,” Lewin said.

“Basically the rest of the quarry was supposed to be benched and treed in the usual way, but the trouble is over a 20 year period he’s done none of this whatsoever.

“There’s almost no rehabilitation on the site whatsoever.”

“Our argument would be, why give him another ten years when he hasn’t stuck to the conditions?

“The vast majority of the material coming out of the quarry is poor quality fill, it’s supposed to be a gravel quarry.”

A council spokeswoman told the Newcastle Herald that the Section 96 application was still under assessment.

“At this stage it is not possible to determine whether it will be necessary to refer the application to a council meeting for determination,” she said.

“This will depend on both the number and content of any objections lodged, and the outcome of the assessment process.”

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