Thursday, December 9

Barrytown Company Releases More Information on Ilmenite Mine Proposal

The company that hopes to mine Barrytown Flats north of Greymouth has provided more information about the project to commissioners evaluating the project.

hearing in Greymouth, of Barrytown JV Ltd's request to extract 63ha of agricultural land

An earlier hearing in Greymouth, on Barrytown JV Ltd’s request to mine 63ha of farmland.
Photo: LDR / Lois Williams

Barrytown JV Ltd wishes to obtain resource consent from the Regional and Gray District Councils to extract privately owned farmland for ilmenite and other minerals, over a period of eight years.

The mineral sands would be processed on site and the ore would be trucked to Westport or Greymouth for export.

The resource consent hearing by an independent panel was suspended earlier this month when commissioners gave the company two weeks to return with additional material on environmental impacts, including traffic and noise.

Neighbors on the proposed mine’s coastal highway said at the hearing that they were seriously concerned about its ruined views, potential noise disturbances, and increased truck traffic on the winding coastal highway (SH6).

Among other changes to its plan, the company now proposes to build taller embankments around the site, change the layout of the cargo area to minimize noise, and operate a passenger van to transport personnel and minimize traffic movements.

In his revised transportation report, the company’s traffic consultant, Nicholas Fuller, says 156,000 tons of material could be removed per year from the Barrytown site and that activity would remain within the relevant thresholds.

Based on a 30 ton load on each truck and trailer, there were four possible scenarios.

The company has requested to operate seven days a week, generating 15 loaded trucks per day (30 movements per day) giving an average of 1.25 trucks per hour for 24 hours.

Working fewer days would mean more trucks on other days: a six-day workweek would generate 17 loaded trucks per day, an average of 1.4 trucks per hour for 24 hours.

And a five-day week would mean 20 loaded trucks or 40 movements per day.

All three scenarios fell within the traffic plan thresholds and hourly limits could be set at an average of two truck movements per hour and a maximum of four per hour at peak times.

Personnel vehicle traffic would be substantially reduced by using a passenger van service similar to that at the Strongman mine, Fuller said.

“Given the above, I continue to consider that the transportation effects of the proposed activity on the surrounding transportation network are acceptable.”

Noise consultant Jon Farren has introduced a new noise model as directed by the commissioners.

The company was proposing to move its cargo area further away from the neighbor at 3195 Coast Road, and from the northeast corner of the site, mining noise levels would meet the council’s decibel limits, Farren reported.

“Daytime noise levels are less than 50 dB in most homes for most of the time, which is the desired outcome … the relocated cargo area will comfortably meet the nighttime noise limit of allowable activity of the District Plan of 45 dB. “

Landscape architect Chris Gasson said the mine site plan had been revised in response to concerns from presenters at the hearing.

“The loading facility has been located alongside the processing plant, and I have recommended that the height of the packages be increased to 2.5m. The access road has been moved further from the southern boundary of the site.”

Fast-growing alders would be used to survey the mine site, along with native species, planted two years before mining began.

The ilmenite mine would lower the ground level of the flats by half a meter, commissioners have been told.

But the company’s water management plan aims to avoid, remediate, or mitigate hydrological effects on Collins Creek, Canoe Creek, Canoe Creek Lagoon, Deverys Creek, and springs on the Langridge property to the south, according to hydrology consultant Zeb Etheridge. .

“The key objective of the remediation is to minimize hydrological changes relative to baseline conditions and avoid impacts to springs and wetlands on the Langridge property north of the mine site while maximizing the soil quality of the mine site. rehabilitated site “.

The proposed extraction area covered 114ha of pastoral farmland between Deverys Creek and Canoe Creek with an average excavation depth of up to 10m and a maximum excavation depth of the order of 15m, Etheridge said.

“Mineral extraction may require a partial depression of the water table in the active extraction area and the diversion of small streams or agricultural drains as the mine shaft passes through the site. Water will also be taken from the dewatering operation for processing. of minerals “.

But the water would be returned to the local hydrological system; the useful life of the proposed mine was approximately 10 years (plus a consent term of 13 years), and the proposed activity represented a short-lived non-consumer water intake.

Ecologist Gary Bramley said he was satisfied that the revised proposal presented little risk to the local Westland petrel colony (taiko).

“I have considered changes to the design of the proposal, including co-locating the processing plant and loading area, starting extraction 100 m from the site boundary, increasing the height of the levees, and bundling almost the entire plant of processing and loading.

The detailed design of the processing plant and adjacent buildings also took into account the need to limit external lighting and vehicle movements to avoid effects on the tāiko, Dr. Bramley said.

“The design of the building, which does not include windows on the west and north sides, as well as the 2.5m cluster around the entire site, means that there is substantially less potential for light spill than I anticipated in my assessment. initial.

“The cargo is located on the east side of the building and has roll-up doors that can be closed when not needed to prevent light spillage. In addition, the decision to prevent night-time truck movements between November 1 and January 31 it will also negate the risk of attracting petrels during those times. “

Additional information from consultants now goes to neighbors and groups invited to comment on the mine proposal, in the limited notification process.

The hearing is scheduled to be held again on November 26.

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