Boral Quarries Seaham (Balickera)
Boral's Seaham Quarry, in the locality of Balickera to the east of Seaham township, is the organisation's main source of hard rock for aggregate production serving the Hunter and Port Stephens regions of NSW.
Please note this site is not open to the public. All sales and product enquiries may only be directed to 1300 723 999, or you can send an online request.
139 Italia Road
Balickera NSW 2324
About the Boral Seaham Quarry
Boral's Seaham Quarry is located amongst bushland and rural residential properties in the Port Stephens region 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, an 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.
The quarry produces 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 224 hectare quarry site also benefits from being almost completely surrounded by 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.
Planning Modification: Additional Resource - Existing Pit (Mar 2020)
***MODIFICATION IS BEING RE-EXHIBITED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT - READ MORE BELOW***
As demand for the Seaham Quarry's quality hard rock aggregates continues unabated, we've considered how we can extend 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, during 2019 we submitted an application to Port Stephens Council seeking to modify the quarry's existing planning consent, allowing us to extract more rock within the existing pit. This application was exhibited for public comment during September-October 2019.
However, due to a Council determination with respect to a document that did not form part of the application as originally exhibited, the modification will be re-exhibited for public comment between 27 March and 10 April 2020.
Boral would like to emphasise that the re-exhibition involves exactly the same application as the original - no changes at all have been made to either the documentation or the intended direction of the proposal as communicated with the community.
Quarry development planning 2017-present
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 (north-east) 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.
A review of these plans alongside the site's accessible resources showed there is 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 almost 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.
If approved, and when combined with already approved resources yet to be quarried, this would extend operations for at least another five years.
No other changes have been 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 view our application documents and read how you can have your say about our proposal during the re-exhibition by visiting Council's website.
You can also read a copy of the community newsletters 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.
We have also chosen not to proceed with extraction down to RL 30 (mentioned in the May newsletter) at this time.
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).
A fifth modification is presently being sought (2020 - see Planning Modification: Additional Resource - Existing Pit tab above).
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.
Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011 (POELA) reporting
The Boral Seaham Quarry, 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 site here.
The Boral Seaham Quarry is a hard rock quarry from which material is extracted via use of drill and blasting to produce aggregates.
These aggregates, in turn, form the basis of the basic building and construction materials for which Boral is widely known such as concrete and asphalt.
To find out more about how Boral operates its quarries, visit our About Quarries page.
The Boral Seaham Quarry is positioned among the undulating hills which separate the Williams River from the coastal plains backing the Stockton Bight and Port Stephens.
The quarry landholding contains and is surrounded by bushland, and adjoins the area forming the Grahamstown Dam water catchment area which supplies Newcastle, parts of the Hunter region and the immediate local area.
A number of measures are therefore in place at the quarry to help guard against any untoward effects upon the surrounding environment. You can read a summary below.
Working with earth and rock materials presents a challenge with respect to managing dust emissions at all quarry sites, not just Boral's.
Accordingly, the industry has developed best practices toward mitigating the risk of these emissions unduly affecting neighbouring properties.
At Seaham Quarry, mitigations which are in place include:
- Dust suppression practices on unsealed haul roads, such as frequent use of water carts;
- Water spray systems which dampen down dust at the quarry face and in stockpiling areas; and
- Monitoring of weather patterns so potential dust-generating activities can be deferred or stopped during unfavourable conditions.
Surface water management
The site's Water Management Plan (WMP) was updated in July 2019.
The WMP includes a range of works to be undertaken at the site, and practices such as mitigation and monitoring, to ensure any water runoff at the site complies with the conditions of the quarry's Environmental Protection Licence (EPL).
The quarry landholding has several dams within it which capture water for use in processing of materials, and dust suppression activities.
Overburden (the material between the earth's surface and the rock to be extracted) and tailings (leftover material from quarrying and processing) are used for placement on finished benches (the 'steps' you see in a quarry face) as part of the site's progressive rehabilitation program.
Licensing and auditing
The quarry holds an approved EPL which partly governs the conduct of extractive activities at the site, allowing between 500 000 and 2 million tonnes per annum of hard rock to be quarried.
As with most Boral sites, Seaham Quarry is subject to an ongoing auditing program as an assurance environmental obligations are being met. Recommendations are made and implemented where any shortfalls are discovered.
Community Updates and Information Sheets
You can review Community Updates issued by the Boral Seaham Quarry below, as well as other information distributed from the site to interested members of the public and our other stakeholders.
As with most of Boral's major operating sites, the Boral Seaham Quarry readily recognises the role it plays in the local community. This recognition is not just as an employer of local people, but also as a corporate citizen of the wider Seaham area.
In line with this idea, the quarry has proudly supported local community groups and activities over its time of operating.
Most recently, support has been provided to the annual fair arranged by the Seaham Public School, and the upgrade of facilities at the Eagleton Ridge Respite Centre which is a near neighbour to the quarry.