New quarry slated for Goulburn met by resistance over silica fears

New quarry slated for Goulburn met by resistance over silica fears

A new quarry planned for development north of Goulburn has been met with fierce resistance from locals who are concerned about the potential health risks to local communities.

Global Quarries Australia, who is behind the project, has recently released an environmental impact statement which was delayed by Covid-related impacts.

The company is proposing the development of a hardrock quarry just over 10 kilometres from Goulbourn. The company estimates that it will be able to supply six million tonnes of saleable material from the project.

The massive operation involves drilling, blasting, processing and transporting the goods via the nearby Hume Highway. A local group of residents, known as the Neighbours of Winfarthing Road, formed more than three years ago and have recently addressed the local council over their concerns.

Wendy Dally, who is a member of the group, said that many local residents were struggling to understand the complexity of the impacts, particularly around silica dust levels and potential pollution impacts.

Various questions posed to Global Quarries over the safety of the project have been met with little response, with the company opting to answer once the full breadth of environmental studies is completed.

“We are seriously considering that if there is going to be silicosis, we can’t stay,” Mrs Dally said.

“No one wants to leave; we love it. This company wants to come here and make money, but we feel everything we’ve worked for will be jeopardised.”

Silicosis from quarry dust is difficult to quantify because it often appears alongside other dust-related diseases in workers. According to the Australian Cancer Council, 587,000 Australian workers were exposed to silica dust on the job in 2011, and about ten per cent are expected to develop lung cancer in the future from that exposure.

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