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Now We Have The Tools, Let’s Use Them

The quarry industry says a new GNS Science study, showing where rock and sand resources exist in five major centres, should kick-start planning nationwide to secure these areas to support New Zealand’s future development needs.

The Aggregate & Quarry Association (AQA) CEO Wayne Scott says his organisation has worked with GNS and the Infrastructure Commission on the Securing Resources for Urban Growth Study which identifies potential sources of quarry materials in north and south Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Central Otago.

Now, he says, central and local government must ensure quarry resources are available to support hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure and housing spend through coming decades.

Launching the study today, Infrastructure Commission CEO Ross Copland noted that 30% of the cost of civil construction came from quarry resources and when these have to be trucked 30km, the cost doubles.

Wayne Scott says his organisation worked with GNS in Ōpōtiki in 2018 when the cost of the town’s proposed harbour development doubled largely because the nearest existing quarries were 100km away. Finding local rock supplies helped make the project viable.

"Such benefits are now available in five centres around the country and other councils are starting to work with GNS to identify their own regions’ viable rock and sand resources."

"I urge mayors, councillors, town planners, iwi and interested citizens in areas with already completed aggregate opportunity maps, to start using these as the basis of their future planning. Other regions should pick up the phone to GNS because much of the work has already been done."

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Wayne Scott says the maps don’t just identify quarry resources but looks at a whole range of factors including an area’s conservation values, biodiversity impacts, local demand, proximity to existing housing, iwi and community concerns and land with high farming value, before identifying where a rock or sand resource is worth confirming for future use.

"As an industry, we want to identify and secure future potential pockets of high-value quarry resources and secure them so they aren’t over-taken by urban sprawl. This study is a potential turning point in how we best plan for all our future growth."

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