Boral Cement Works Berrima
New Berrima NSW 2577
About the former Berrima (Medway) Colliery
Boral owns land in the village of Medway, 8km to the west of New Berrima, which contains a former colliery and coal mine .
Coal mining at Medway can be traced back to the 1880s. Boral's former mine, sited above the Wingecarribee River, was operated between 1926 and 2013.
The primary focus of the mine was the supply of coal to the Berrima Cement Works kiln. At the time operations ceased, Medway was thought to be the smallest commercial coal mine in Australia.
The Colliery was last operated on Boral's behalf by Delta Mining and included the former underground mine, above-ground facilities, and a stockpiling site at Loch Catherine, itself another former mine.
As with New Berrima, Medway village was originally established as an ancillary settlement for mine employees. During the 1990s, the sale of surplus land generated opportunities for rural-residential purchasers.
On 23 October 2013, Boral announced the transition of the site into a 'care and maintenance' mode, suspending coal extraction.
On 1 July 2014, Boral announced it would seek approval from the NSW State Government to permanently close the site.
During 2015-16, a Final Closure Plan (FCP) was developed to guide the sealing of mine entries and rehabilitation of the above-ground parts of the site.
In 2017, the FCP remains under the assessment of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
Once agreed, implementation of the FCP will include completely sealing off access to the underground parts of the mine and removal of most of the above-ground mining infrastructure.
About Boral Berrima Cement Works
The Boral Berrima Cement Works is responsible for the supply of more than 60 percent of cement products in NSW and the ACT.
Construction of the Cement Works began in late 1927 and first operations started in May 1929. The neighbouring town of New Berrima was originally established in 1928 as housing for employees of the site.
Operating with one kiln (No 6), the Works takes limestone delivered by rail from the Boral Marulan South Limestone site and, after blending with other materials, burns it at high temperature to produce 'clinker'.
The clinker, in the form of pellets, is ground to produce the cement 'powder' and products with which consumers are familiar. The site employs around 145 people in operational and administrative roles.
Boral acquired the Works late in 1987 from Blue Circle Southern Cement, retaining the original owner's name until re-branding to Boral Cement during 2010.
Built with Berrima Cement
Some of the best known public infrastructure built in NSW and the ACT has included cement produced at the Boral Berrima Cement Works:
- Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme
- Sydney Opera House
- Federal Parliament House
- High Court of Australia
- National Art Gallery, Canberra
- Anzac Bridge, Sydney
- Sydney Harbour Tunnel
- Motorway sections of the Hume, Pacific and Federal Highways.
History of Berrima Cement Works
A brief timeline
- 1926 - Arthur Stanley Taylor decides to build the Cement Works for processing limestone from his Marulan South mine.
- 1927 - The Cement Works site is purchased and Southern Portland Cement formed. Equipment begins arriving at site for construction.
- 1928 - Subdivided land in New Berrima is offered for employee housing.
- 1929 - 24 May - Production starts with Kiln 2. Kiln 1 comes online later in the year.
- 1935 - Production of the first 'low heat' cement for the Sydney Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board.
- 1948 - Supply of 'low heat' cement to the Warragamba Dam construction project begins.
- 1954 - Kiln 3 comes online, lifting annual plant capacity to 260 000 tonnes. A decision is made later in year to commence Kiln 4, triggering a major site upgrade including a new raw mill, two new cement mills and a coal mill.
- 1964 - Kiln 5 begins production as the largest of its type in the British Commonwealth. It has a capacity of 435 000 tonnes per annum. A new cement mill, three 2000 tonne silos and a new coal mill are also built in support. Kiln 4 and 5 capacity is now 600 000 tonnes per annum.
- 1974 - Berrima becomes part of the Blue Circle Southern Cement group. Kilns 1-4 are gradually phased out of production through the early 70s.
- 1978 - Kiln 6 is commissioned, producing 750 000 tonnes per annum.
- 1987 - Blue Circle Southern is acquired by the Boral Group, but the business retains Blue Circle branding.
- 1998 - $36 million upgrade increases Kiln 6 capacity to potential output of 1 million tonnes per annum.
- 2004 - A further $94 million upgrade to Kiln 6 and ancillary plant incorporates new technology and increases output to 1.35 million tonnes per annum.
- 2007 - Cement Mill No 7 is commissioned to cope with increased demand.
- 2010 - Blue Circle operations convert to the Boral brand.
- 2011 - Removal of Kiln 5 and other structures as part of a major site overhaul.
- 2016 - Approval received from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for site to begin using Solid Waste Derived Fuels (SWDFs) as part of the energy mix for the kiln.
- 2017 - Construction begins on the plant and equipment needed to integrate SWDFs into production.
Planning and Approvals
On this page you will find information about the rules and regulations to which the Boral Berrima Cement Works operates.
General operating approvals
The Boral Berrima Cement Works was commissioned in 1929 and has been operated continuously ever since. During the course of its history, the site has hosted six different kilns and a wide variety of infrastructure.
For many years, the Cement Works was reliant upon 'continuing use rights' as the basis for operating approval. Today, two main approvals establish the site's operating conditions.
- DA 401-11-2002-i, issued by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure on 12 May 2003 for the upgrade of Kiln 6, and
- DA 85-4-2005, issued by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure on 16 August 2005 for the establishment of Cement Mill 7.
These approvals have been subject to a number of modification applications which have subsequently been approved.
Berrima Cement Works - Mill 7 Consent
The site also holds several development application (DA) approvals issued by Wingecarribee Shire Council for a number of the smaller buildings and structures on site.
Solid Waste Derived Fuels (SWDF) Implementation 2017-18
Work has commenced on new plant which will allow the Boral Cement Berrima Works to integrate Solid Waste-Derived Fuels (SWDFs) into the production process. The construction project follows the site's gaining of planning approval for the use of SWDFs in October 2016. Building is scheduled to take around 10 months (weather permitting). Between six and 30 personnel will work on the project, which represents an $11.3 million investment by Boral in the Berrima site. A $4.08 million grant from the NSW Environment Trust's Waste Less, Recycle More initiative also supports the project.
What are SWDFs?
SWDFs are typically waste by-products of industry which can be given a secondary use as a fuel for energy or heat. In cement manufacturing, they can be used in combination with 'traditional' fuels (mainly coal) to provide the energy necessary for the high temperatures needed inside the kiln. Using SWDFs means that Berrima can reduce its current total reliance upon coal for its energy needs. In the process, it can reduce its production costs and remain competitive within the Australian market.
At Berrima, two SWDFs have been added to the site's planning approval for use - wood waste-derived fuels (WWDF) and refuse-derived fuels (RDF). The site already had previous approval to use rubber tyre 'chips'. WWDF consists of the off-cuts and leftovers of processes such as furniture manufacturing. It does not contain any commercial or native forestry material. RDF is produced by processing suitable combustible materials found in general waste. It's important to note it is not simply made from all wastes disposed of in domestic collections.
Typically, SWDFs are made from materials which otherwise would be destined for emplacement in landfills, space for which comes at a premium in the populated areas of NSW.
The Our Community tab contains a number of newsletters, presentations and other materials used to explain SWDFs during our seeking of approval for their use.
Daily construction program
The new SWDF plant is located on the southern side of the existing Cement Works, away from the New Berrima Township.
It will remain largely out of the sight of the local community, except for the new 'tube' conveyors which will convey the SWDFs into the kiln. These will mostly only be seen from eastern (Moss Vale) viewpoints. As a result, neighbours are not expected to be inconvenienced by the construction works. Hours of construction are:
Monday - Friday - 7am to 6pm.
Saturday - 7am to 1pm.
Sundays & Public Holidays - No work will be carried out if there is a risk of noise beyond the Cement Works boundary.
Residents should note that normal Cement Works operations will continue throughout the SWDF construction project.
If you notice anything of concern during the implementation of the SWDF works, please contact us via 4860 2222 at your earliest convenience.
Annual Environmental Management Reviews
The Cement Works is required to compile an annual review at the end of each reporting year, capturing information about operations and performance against a range of criteria. The reviews, known as AEMRs, can be found below. \
Environmental Audits - External
The planning consents for both Kiln 6 and Cement Mill 7 at the Berrima Cement Works include a provision that a tri-annual environmental audit be undertaken as a verification of compliance.
You can read the related audit report below:
Positive relationships with the community are an important part of conducting our business activities.
This section details initiatives involving our neighbours and other local stakeholders, as well as updates on what's happening at our site.
Water outflow - Former Berrima (Medway) Colliery (Aug 2017)
Following media reports concerning the quality of water flowing out of the now disused Boral Berrima (Medway) Colliery into the Wingecarribee River, Boral has released the below statement.
Boral's Berrima operation has made significant contributions to the Southern Highlands community over many years through supporting activities and participating in events. During this time, the site has employed generations of local people, providing a cornerstone for the economic and social development of the region.
Since Boral's arrival in the 1980s, the tradition of working with and contributing to the community has continued.
Berrima Cement Works - Community Partnerships (Aug 2017)
Boral Berrima Cement is proud to provide support to a variety of local community groups and activities each year.
During the past three years, we've built regular partnerships with the following:
Community events (regular)
- Wingecarribee Shire Council - Jobs & Careers Expo (annual, 2011-17)
- Rotary - Southern Highlands Schools Science & Engineering Challenge (annual, 2013-17)
- Southern Highlands Business Excellence Awards (annual, 2011-17)
- Moss Vale Chamber of Commerce - Buskers' Battle (new for 2017)
- Harper's Mansion - Plant & Garden Fair (annual, 2016-17)
- Southern Highlands Veterans - Golf Day (annual, 2016-17)
- Southern Stars Baseball Club, Colo Vale (three year arrangement, 2016-17)
- Hill Top Soccer Club (ongoing, 2016-17)
Community events (recent 'one off')
- Moss Vale Public School - Twilight Fete (2016)
- St Paul's Parish Primary School - Community Fair (2016)
- Bowral High School - End of Year Presentation (2016)
- Berrima TownLife - Carols By Candlelight (2016)
- National Breast Cancer Foundation - Southern Highlands Mother's Day Classic (2015-16)
- Berrima District Old Machinery Club - Show (2016)
- Southern Highlands Kennel & Obedience Club - All Breeds Championship Show (2016)
- Southern Highlands Domestic Violence Forum - Golf Day (2016)
Boral Corporate Partnerships at Berrima
The communities around the Boral Berrima Cement Works have also benefited through Boral's partnerships held at the corporate level.
The most significant of these is with Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) which has been in partnership with Boral since 1988.
Over the years, CVA has delivered its Biodiversity Classroom and Connected Communities programs at Berrima mainly through the Berrima Public School.
Each of these programs, delivered on behalf of Boral, has assisted in enlightening both students and staff about their local environment, as well as delivering improvements to the school grounds.
In 2016, CVA also assisted at the Tudor House School, Moss Vale, creating a new 'bush tucker' vegetable garden and greenhouse spaces.
Leaving a legacy for Berrima
The Boral Berrima Cement Works has also contributed to numerous community building and infrastructure projects which remain in active use today.
Some of these projects include:
- Mittagong SES - new Operations building (2013)
- Berrima Public School - Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Project (2012)
- Bundanoon Public School - garden seating project (2017)
- Mittagong Rugby League Club - cement for pathway and accessibility improvements (2015)
- Living Green - Revegetation along Wingecarribee River, Berrima and Cosgrove Park, Moss Vale (2011)
Since the early 2000s, Boral has arranged community meetings as a means of sharing information and gauging general perceptions about operational performance.
The meetings are open to any interested community member. Meeting times and dates are advertised through the Southern Highlands News, letterbox 'drops' and notices in local stores. You can view the meeting presentations from sessions held during the past three years below:
- Berrima Cement Works Community Meeting - 27 July 2017
- Berrima Cement Works Community Meeting - 10 November 2016
- Berrima Cement Works Community Meeting - 2 June 2016
- Berrima Cement Works Community Meeting - 29 July 2015
- Berrima Cement Works Community Meeting - 5 March 2015
As part of Boral's ongoing commitment to keeping residents informed, newsletters are regularly issued about the latest happenings at the site. You can read the issues from the past below. If you'd like to look at an edition not listed here, you can send us a request.
- Boral Berrima Community Update - August 2017
- Boral Berrima Community Update - December 2015
- Boral Berrima Community Update - August 2015
- Boral Berrima Community Update - May 2014
- Boral Berrima Community Update - October 2013
- Boral Berrima Community Update - March 2013
Listening to our Community
A register of complaints made to the Berrima Cement Works and their resolution is required to be made available for public review.
You'll find the latest version of the register below:
Environmental Management Plans
The Boral Berrima Cement Works has developed a set of Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) over many years to guide site environmental management.
The suite of management plans assist the operations to meet the terms of its environment protection licence (EPL) and planning approvals.
You can read each of these plans below:
Pollution Incident Notification Register
Under the NSW Protection of the Environment Act 1997, Boral is required to develop procedures for the notification of neighbours in the event of a 'pollution incident'.
Examples of pollution incidents include (but are not limited to) significant oil or hydrocarbon spills; release of large volumes of high pH (alkaline) water; and fires or significant smoke.
The procedure requires the establishment of a secure register of neighbour contact details which can be used for notification. This register was started in 2013.
If you live within a one kilometre radius of the Cement Works, you can register your details directly via email. Phone and mobile numbers, email addresses and so on can be included depending on your contact preference.
Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011
The Berrima Cement operation, as well as many other Boral sites, has obligations under the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011.
These obligations include providing public access to pollution reporting data. You can find out more about the Act and the results for the Berrima site here.
We welcome your comments and feedback about any topic relating to the Boral Berrima Cement Works.
Boral Berrima Cement Works
Taylor Ave, New Berrima NSW 2577
Locked Bag 4, New Berrima NSW 2577
General and operational enquiries
Ph: 02 4860 2222
Operations Manager (NSW) - Boral Cement
Ph: 02 4860 2222
Stakeholder Relations Manager
Ph: 02 4677 2946 / 0401 894 097