Boral Quarries Seaham (Balickera)
Boral's Seaham Quarry is the organisation's main source of hard rock for aggregate production serving the Hunter and Port Stephens regions of NSW.
139 Italia Road
Balickera NSW 2324
Boral's Seaham Quarry is located amongst bushland and rural residential properties in the Port Stephens area of NSW. It is sited within the locality of Balickera but named for the township of Seaham, some 5.5 kilometres to the west of the operations. The main population centres of Raymond Terrace (10 kilometres) and Newcastle (central business district - 28 kilometres) lie to the south.
Quarrying began at the site in 1991 after planning approval was achieved in 1985. Extractive activities take place within a rich seam of ignimbrite, and igneous hard rock which possesses high qualities of strength and endurance. A smaller resource of rhyolite, another igneous rock, also exists on the site and is similarly extracted as needed.
Since operations commenced, the quarry has produced an average of 700 000 to 800 000 tonnes per annum of aggregates for use in the manufacture of materials such as concrete and asphalt. Materials generated by the site are transported to building and construction customers in Newcastle, across the Hunter Valley and Port Stephens regions.
The site's position just off the Pacific Motorway is advantageous in the movement of materials around these areas. The quarry also benefits from being almost completely surrounded by thick vegetation, making it largely not visible to the public - the only known external viewpoint is located some 10 kilometres away on a small section of Richardson Road at Ferodale, to the south-east.
The quarry supports a workforce of 16 and more than 20 contractors and drivers. Activities at the site follow Boral's standards for extractive activities - to learn more about how we run our operations, visit the About Quarries page.
The Seaham Quarry is operated to a planning consent (DA 2683_85) issued by Port Stephens Council during September 1985.
Since being originally granted, the consent has been successfully modified a total of four times to account for some minor production changes, and an amendment to the site's hours of operation (2005).
The consent and its modifications set out the operating, environmental and reporting conditions the quarry must comply with throughout its 'life'. It remains valid through until 2035.
Planning Modification: Additional Resource - Existing Pit (May 2019)
As demand for the Seaham Quarry's quality hard rock aggregates continues unabated, we've started to consider how we can extend our operations at the site over the next 5-10 years to keep pace.
After reviewing what we know about our ignimbrite deposit, and re-examining our original intent to quarry north-east into a new part of our land, we've determined we still have an opportunity to extract further downward.
Accordingly, we're looking to lodge an application with Port Stephens Council by the end of July seeking to modify the quarry's existing planning consent, allowing us to extract more rock within the existing pit.
Change in direction
Between October 2017 and April 2018, we communicated with locals around a proposal we were framing to extend the pit further toward the Italia Road end of the site. Doing so would have yielded an estimated 5 million tonnes of rock, but would also have meant establishing extraction in a new, vegetated part of the site.
Our review of these plans alongside the site's accessible resources showed there was still up to 3.3 million tonnes of rock within the existing quarry footprint. With operations already in place, a decision was therefore made that we should maximise the resource already available to us.
Under the existing planning approval, we are able to quarry down to a relative level (RL, or height above sea level) of 45 metres in the southern end of our existing pit. This level has been achieved, however we remain at a higher level in the northern part of the pit.
In order to access the additional 3.3 million tonnes identified, we'd like to be able to extend the 45 metre level throughout the whole of the quarry pit. At the southern end, we'd like to extract out another bench (one of the 'steps' seen in quarry walls), taking the level down to RL 30. If approved, and when combined with already approved resources yet to be quarried, this would extend operations for at least another seven to 10 years.
The original proposal communicated to locals was to follow a planning process overseen by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. However, as the new direction requires only a modification of the existing consent, the relevant planning authority is Port Stephens Council. Once submitted to Council, the modification will be assessed by the Planning team before being placed on public exhibition for comment. Once we know when this will happen, we'll publish the dates here.
No other changes will be requested through the modification application. As the additional extraction will take place within the existing quarry pit, there'll be no need to change any other aspect of how the site presently operates.
You can read a copy of the community newsletter sent out to explain the modification proposal below. If you have any questions or comments about our plans, you can send us an email.
It should be noted Boral still intends to extract the 5 million tonne resource to the north-east in future, however this will require a completely separate planning process when required.
Community Updates and Information Sheets
You can review Community Updates issued by the Seaham Quarry below, as well as other information distributed from the site to interested members of the public and our other stakeholders.