'Line drawn' on sand mine as near 500 sign Minnamurra petition

PROTEST: Several hundred people joined a rally against the sand mine expansion near the Minnamurra River in July. Picture: Adam McLean
PROTEST: Several hundred people joined a rally against the sand mine expansion near the Minnamurra River in July. Picture: Adam McLean

The NSW Government has been urged to draw a "line in the sand" by almost 5000 residents who signed a petition against the expansion of Boral's sand mine towards Minnamurra.

The petition was tabled in the NSW parliament by independent MLC Justin Field, with 4883 people calling on the Government to "oppose the Boral proposal and any new sand mining that risks the environmental, recreation and tourism values of the region".

Boral wants to dig two new pits within a 38ha site of mostly agricultural land east of the Princes Hwy and south of Riverside Dr, to feed growing demand for sand in the Sydney construction market.

About 1.1 million tonnes of sand would be extracted from one pit dug to a depth of 27m, and 234,000 tonnes from the other, up to 12m deep. The smaller pit would come to within about 100m of the Minnamurra River, Boral's plannning documents show.

Gerroa Environment Protection Society president Warren Holder presented the petition.

"The community has spoken," he said. "This is the wrong place for sand mining and we want the Government to reject the Boral proposal.

"We've still got serious concerns that the Environmental Impact Assessment has failed to recognise some of the significant impacts of the proposal. The suggestion seems to be that the animals that rely on these critical habitats can just move on and come back once mining has finished. That's simply unacceptable."

Line in the sand: MP Justin Field with Gerroa Environment Protection Society President Warren Holder and the petition on Wednesday.

Line in the sand: MP Justin Field with Gerroa Environment Protection Society President Warren Holder and the petition on Wednesday.

In a statement Boral said: "Boral continues to be satisfied that the application to modify the planning consent for Dunmore Sand and Soil will meet relevant environmental and other requirements".

"We look forward to seeing the department's recommendation and further demonstrating our position beforethe Independent Planning Commission through the prescribed process."

Both Kiama and Shellharbour councils oppose the plan.

Mr Field said the NSW Government "should listen to the community on this one".

"This has to be the line in the sand for the Dunmore operations," he said. "They can't keep moving closer to the river. They need to look for alternative sand resources if they want to keep mining sand in the region.

"This campaign has brought together everyone who cares about the river including environmentalists, fishers, members of the local communities, and regular visitors."

They can't keep moving closer to the river. They need to look for alternative sand resources if they want to keep mining sand in the region.

Justin Field, MLC