The ALDE Safety & Environment Subcommittee has prepared the following update in relation to On Site Rock Crushing to our members. 

Melbourne is currently in the middle of a significant pipeline of construction project lead by Victoria’s “Big Build” infrastructure projects. Plants, quarries and cartage companies are providing priority service to high profile government projects which has resulted in increased competition in the private sector for the remaining local suppliers.

Infrastructure Australia’s December 2022 Market Capacity Report cautioned of an emerging capacity risk in Melbourne’s local markets where quarry closures are preceding the opening of greenfield sites. Producers themselves note that approvals for new quarries and or extensions of consents at existing facilities are very difficult, taking up to 10 years in some cases.

Due to such extended timelines, there is currently a real risk of a quarry ‘gap’ occurring in Melbourne’s supply chain. As a result, recycling virgin rock is becoming more popular on land development sites in Melbourne’s north and west. The decision to introduce rock crushing capabilities into a land development site is something that requires careful consideration to the site-specific risk and opportunities.

The ALDE Safety & Environment Subcommittee has highlighted some things to consider in relation to recycling virgin rock on land development sites: 

Advantages of on site rock crushing
  • Eliminating or reducing tipping fees and disposal costs 
  • Reducing demand and reliance on quarries 
  • Reducing transportation costs 
  • Lowering aggregate material cost 
  • Lowering traffic impact and reduced energy costs 
Disadvantages of on site rock crushing
  • Dust and other environmental concerns 
  • Requires a large space to stockpile and crush away from residents and other significant areas. 
  • Rock can only be graded to Class 3 without a pug mill. 
  • Sites selling and transporting crushed rock externally may be considered by some Councils as acting as a quarry. Additional permits may be required to do this legally. 
  • Crushing plants introduce significant OH&S concerns not normally present on subdivision sites. 
  • Contractual risks such as when rock is produced faster than it is able to be crushed and it needs to be removed from site when it was assumed to be crushed on site.