Sand quarry prepares for closure
The operators of Walkers Sand Quarry in St Andrew are beginning to prepare for its closure.
Managing Director of Island Development Limited (IDL) Ian McNeel told a recent gathering that “after about 50 years of mining” the company had begun the process of transition from the mining phase to the end-of-use phase.
McNeel suggested that the closure was not imminent – IDL recently applied to Town & Country Planning for permission to begin mining Stage 5 of the quarry.
However, he said a comprehensive end-of-use plan had been drawn up, which included slope stabilization and dune restoration.
The IDL executive also said a “very systematic and detailed process” of regeneration and revegetation had been on-going for the past three years.
McNeel added that ponds were being built and surface water would be directed to the ponds to prevent soil erosion.
Revegetation of the closed mining areas had already benefited from over 2,000 tonnes of green waste and compost, as well as 20,000 trees and plants, including aloes, sweet potatoes, eddoes and arrowroot, he told those gathered at Alleyne School for the town hall meeting in anticipation of permission to begin mining State 5.
Environmental engineer Justin Jennings-Wray said an Environmental Impact Assessment had identified concerns about water quality, drainage, dust, noise, traffic and ecological and visual impacts among the potential impacts of continued mining to the surrounding communities.
However, Jennings-Wray said there were a number of recommendations to mitigate those impacts, including regular checks and maintenance of equipment used by the quarry to avoid leakage and the use of oily waste disposal specialists to get rid of any spilled waste.
A sprinkler system and asphalt paving of the driveway were also recommended to tackle dust levels at the entrance to the quarry.
The environmental expert also blamed rainfall at the quarry for the ponds and floodwaters within the quarry, and announced that a drainage system to Long Pond would have to be constructed to drain floodwaters to facilitate further mining.
Pond water quality at the quarry was tested by local and overseas laboratories and found to be of good quality, a suggestion that past quarrying had not polluted the water.
Operations Manager Shae Warren revealed that although stage 4 was coming to a close, there were plans to return to some areas of stages 1 through 3 for minor extractions. Those areas had previously been granted mining permission.