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Sustainability wins the day

Aggregate and Quarry Association of NZ: Sustainability wins the day

Finding long-term sustainable solutions was the motivation when Winstone Aggregates won a hat-trick of Aggregate and Quarry Association Awards at the Quarry NZ Conference in Invercargill last week.

Winning endeavours in the past year saw three separate Winstone operations gain awards: the Environmental Award (Puketutu Island Quarry, Mangere), the Energy Efficiency Award (Winstone Aggregates), and the Community and Social Sustainability Award (Whitehall Quarry, central Waikato).

“We are delighted to be recognised by the AQA Awards for what comes down to our sustainable approach across all of these business areas,” said Winstone’s General Manager, Bernie Chote.

“We are committed to doing more with less, striving for excellence with our environmental performance and gaining the community’s support to continue to provide our products.”

Winstone has a clear focus on sustainability: “there are no short-term gains,” says Bernie. “We are demonstrating market leadership through long-term sustainable practices.”

The awards are made to encourage companies and staff of the Aggregate and Quarry (AQA) industry to establish and implement programmes of environmental, energy efficiency and community importance to the industry and its operations.

Environmental Award 2009
Winner: Puketutu Island Quarry, Mangere

Presenting the award was Dr Morgan Williams, former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and currently an Adjunct Professor at the Universities of Canterbury and Queensland. “The Aggregate and Quarry Association’s focus on sustainability, through the promotion of the Environmental Excellence Award, represents astute leadership on a matter that is core to the industries ability to meet societies resource needs in an environmentally acceptable manner,” said Dr Williams.

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“As was highlighted in a 2009 World Economic Forum background paper; sustainability is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It has become a human security and survival issue. Against this stark, but accurate assessment, the NZ aggregate and quarrying industry is well placed to meet the challenges ahead if the Association sustainability leadership endures.”

Puketutu Quarry, Mangere received the award for its significant contribution to environmental matters within the industry, including the development of an environmentally sustainable cleanfill and remediation programme on Puketutu Island, an island with a long cultural history and cherished ecological values on land and in the surrounding seas.

Its particular strengths lie in the breadth of the policies and protocols that have guided the development and the documentation of cleanfill contamination management and remediation processes used on the former timber treatment site.

Energy Efficiency Award
Aggregate and Quarry Associations Energy Efficiency Award 2009
Winner: Winstone Aggregates

Winstone Aggregates demonstrated a systematic approach to Energy Management, adopting a formal Energy Policy, which was publicised throughout the organisation and to all stakeholders. This policy demonstrated a corporate commitment to energy efficiency, and empowered all the Winstone operations to participate in energy efficiency initiatives, including their heavy vehicle fleet.

This programme has led to formal monthly reporting of energy use, which includes diesel burn, and trending against a universal measure of production as an overall Gigajoules / 100 tonne produced. This in turn allows
Winstone Aggregates to evaluate their carbon liability and work toward a corporation-wide carbon accounting system and the reduction of green house gas emissions wherever possible.

The results speak for themselves, for example:

Formal fleet management of both the road fleet and mobile quarry vehicles using smart GPS systems has delivered fuel efficiency savings in the range of 4-15%.

Two fixed plant Energy Audits at the Hunua quarry and Puni sand plant were undertaken with a follow up audit undertaken to verify the savings identified. This has resulted in a further three major quarry sites earmarked for auditing in the next financial year.

Opportunities identified to date from the Fixed Plant and Fleet Audits in Auckland are projected to return more than $600k in savings to the bottom line. Winstone are keen that this exercise be repeated at the company’s other national operations.

The award is sponsored by Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and is earmarked to be used for further energy efficiency and conservation programmes.

Quarry & Mining Magazine Community & Social Sustainability Award 2009
Winner: Whitehall Quarry, central Waikato

Modern quarrying techniques have gone a long way to help reduce the impact of quarry operations on communities and Whitehall Quarry just gone the extra mile. For instance the entrance to a quarry site is all that most people will ever see, and therefore forms the basis of their perception of the quarry and the company as a whole. So Whitehall Quarry sealed the access road to the site to reduce sediment being tracked out onto the road and sowing and planting is completed as soon as practicable.

Whitehall has a complaints procedure in place that sees all complaints dealt with personally by the quarry manager with the complainant kept well informed during the investigation process.

A strong relationship with the Raukawa people in the area of the Whitehall Quarry resulted in the setting up of the Te Mana Taiao Environmental Trust to source plants and labour from the local Marae for projects such as the realignment of the Karapiro Stream which created a new water course that was re-vegetated in native plants.

This is a long-term project carried out in conjunction with both the local iwi and conservation volunteers. The founding of the trust also resulted in a national internship every year for a student of Maori descent to work with Winstone Aggregate over the summer.

On a larger scale, Whitehall Quarry is involved with the Maungatautari ecological project, an internationally significant restoration project involving 3400 hectares of native forest and extinct volcano stands in the Waikato basin.

The vision of trust is to rid the forest of introduced pests and restore an indigenous forest. This project is on the doorstep of the quarry, which has donated over 3000 tonnes of aggregates (including cartage) for the creation of tracks.

ENDS

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