Bicol University College of Engineering Mining Engineering Department Legazpi City

Report on


Submitted to: Ms. Indira B. Tabo Professor

by: Julius Banez Sarah Mae Ajon Jan Rose Bilolo Jhocel Marollano Dailyn Nivero BSEM ± 2

March 24, 2010


Aside from steel bars, rocks and other cement materials are used for building construction. These stones are dig up from different sources such as mountains, plains and river beds. After that they are transported to the processing or crushing plants in order to be converted to cement such as portland cement or crushed to an appropriate size like sand-sized rocks. Different types of stones can be excavated; in example are small rocks such as pebbles, bigger rocks such as cobbles, and the biggest of the three such as boulders. Though it is similar to and classified under mining, this industry is different, it is called quarrying. Forces shape the earth¶s surface, and there is a great force of man¶s invented industries that can alter gradually the different landforms. Quarrying is one of them, and it is also one industry that thrives here in this country. It has different impacts which can affect people and the environment itself. Focusing on the environmental impacts, it can provide direct damage to people by inhaling dust, and listening loud sounds. Indirect effects can cause different calamities such as landslides and flashfloods. Thus, it is appropriate that certain laws and standards must be implemented to mitigate the impacts. Air pollution is one of the major effects of quarrying. Dust is the most common and the most extensive air pollutant from a quarry. It has different origins in a quarry site such as mechanical handling operations that include crushing and grading process;

haulage with which is related to the vehicle, and the nature and condition of the way; blasting; additional manufacturing operations and wind blow from paved areas, stockpiles etc. Dust concentration levels are monitored in two ways, active monitoring in which the system is suited to measuring over minutes, hours and days; and passive monitoring which are suited for measuring over days, weeks and months. Some ways for mitigation of dust emission are to consider the planning conditions relating to the layout of the site, design of stockpiles, hard surfacing of vehicle areas, containment of conveyors and processing plant and dust collection equipment, use of moistening equipments on the dusty places, design of material-handling systems, provision of monitoring facilities, and measurement of limiting levels of dust. Quarrying generates significant amount of noise in its different activities. It starts from the starting phase such as establishment of roads to the site, construction of buildings and facilities. In some instances the next process involves the exposing of the valuable rock or mineral by using scraping equipments to remove the top soil and other layers. The excavation of the mineral contributes more noise than by use of machinery to transport the materials and sometimes having processing plants to crush and grade the materials. Some quarries use explosives to break away rocks in which is called blasting. This activity creates great amounts of noise in the environment, that¶s why there are also monitoring systems used in blasting. The companies using the blasting process must comply with the standards mandated by the law. Damage to biodiversity is also imminent by which the natural habitat as well as the species it support is destroyed. There¶s no helping that the habitat can be destroyed, but when the quarry closes it must be ensured that the site will be fully

reclaimed and the habitats recovered. Some of the things that may need to consider are having to implement a comprehensive baseline study of the ecosystem; to make a safeguarding or creation habitat; to make use of the buffer zones between workings and sensitive habitats; to have progressive working and restoration; to provide alternative habitats for defined species; and to transplant valuable flora as a last resort. It may also help by implementing methods that can mitigate the other impacts of quarrying because it can indirectly affect wildlife. Wastes are by-products of extraction and processing in which is highly unavoidable but are generally inert and non-hazardous. They are generally stored in soil heaps known as tip which is either temporary to be re-excavated or permanent to be used as auxiliary designs for the final long-term landscape on closure and restoration of the land. Quarry fines are a mixture of coarse medium and fine sand material, and silt or clay(silt and clay is known collectively as filler) in which if there are higher percent of sand, silt and clay, the more difficult it is to handle due to easy mobilization in gravity, wind and water. There are many ways in which quarry wastes can be mitigated, by minimization of the production of waste, reusing the waste by harnessing it as part of the program for progressive restoration, site waste heaps having regard to effects on the landscape, groundwater, surface watercourses, and flood regime, encasement of waste with physical or chemical contaminant, cementation of fine waste and the use of waste for beneficial reasons such as using as a part of progressive restoration. Right planning and management can contribute for the minimization or control of these effects. It is important to know and implement the standards set by the laws and

to provide additional methods in improving the mitigation process. The environment can be enhanced through restoration of the land after the cessation of quarry operations.


I. INTRODUCTION Quarrying is the process of obtaining quarry resources, usually rocks, found on or below the land surface. The difference in mining and quarrying is that quarrying extracts nonmetallic rocks and aggregates while mining excavates the site for mineral deposits. Some of the stones extracted were sandstone, limestone, perlite, marble, ironstone, slate, granite, rock salt and phosphate rock. The suitability of the stone for quarrying depends on (1) its quality; (2) the possibility of cheap and ready conveyance to a large market; and (3) its inclination and depth below the surface. The two principal branches of the industry are the so-called dimension-stone and crushed-stone quarrying. In the former, blocks of stone, such as marble, are extracted in different shapes and sizes for different purposes. In the crushed-stone industry, granite, limestone, sandstone, or basaltic rock are crushed for use principally as concrete aggregate or roadstone. There are also different methods of quarrying which are affected by the topography of the site, type of rock to be extracted, and use of equipments. The following statements present the different methods of quarrying. In some instances

explosives are used to break large rocks and later crushed to an appropriate size. In this method holes are drilled in the rocks and are filled with explosive. It is detonated through the electric firing or other methods of blasting. Channeling and wedging is another process of quarrying in which channeling machines are used in cutting long, narrow channels in rock which is deep enough for the insertion of wedges. The rock is then split through the fracture. The channeling and wedging process of quarrying is extensively used in quarrying marble, sandstone, limestone and other softer rocks, but is not successful for granite and other hard rocks. Another method of cutting is by the combination of a power saw, an abrasive, and water as a lubricant and a coolant. The saw cuts a narrow channel, the primary or initial cut, that is then either expanded by a wedge or is blasted. This method is used in slate, granite, and limestone quarries. The most common and simple method is the use of hand tools such as pick, shovel, and wheelbarrow. It is commonly used in easily accessible beds such as loose rocks in riverbeds, and soft rocks in the mountains that can be easily broken down. The purpose of this report is to present the different environmental effects of quarrying, and the methods of mitigating it. It aims to increase awareness to the people involved in quarrying and those who might be affected by it. Thus, helping them to understand the effects and provide plans in order to uphold responsible quarrying. This report lists the possible obvious effects of quarrying. The four parts of this report involves the major environmental effects of quarrying like air pollution, noise pollution, damage to biodiversity, and quarry wastes. It also discusses about the

different mitigation methods and the different good practices that are being implemented in assistance to the reduction of each impact.


Definitions Dust is considered to be any solid matter emanating from a surface mineral working, or from vehicles serving it, which is borne by the air. Dust is particle of matter in the size range of 1 - 75 m in diameter, with particles less than 1 m being classified as smoke or fumes. The finest particles of between 1 and 10 m in diameter will be respirable and are associated with health effects. Particles greater than 10m are associated with public perception and nuisance.

Nuisance dust may be described as the coarse fraction of airborne particulates, typically greater than about 20 m, although there is no standard definition.

Sources of Dust Dusts are normally present in the atmosphere, at varying levels of concentration and can have a wide variety of man-made and natural origins including: 


products of combustion from e.g. fires, power stations and motor vehicles; mechanical handling of minerals and allied materials; industrial activities; matter resulting from volcanic action, desert storms or other geological activities sea-salt from oceanic processes. It is important to recognize that there are a number of sources of dust which will

not be connected to a mineral working. These will not always be readily distinguishable from site dust and so may give rise to unwarranted complaints. Dust Emission Dust particles are dispersed by their suspension and entrainment in an airflow. Dispersal is affected by the particle size shape and density, as well as wind speed and other climatic effects. Smaller dust particles remain airborne for longer, dispersing widely and depositing more slowly over a wider area. Large dust particles (greater than 30 m), that make up the greatest proportion of dust emitted from mineral workings will largely deposit within 100 m of sources. Intermediate sized particles (10 - 30 m) are likely to travel up to 200 - 500 m. Smaller particles (less than 10 m) which make up a small proportion of the dust emitted from most mineral workings are only deposited slowly. Concentrations decrease rapidly on moving away from the source, due to dispersion and dilution. The process by which dust becomes airborne is referred to as 'dust emission'. For this to happen, energy is required to overcome the gravitational and cohesive forces binding dust particles to the surface. Potential dust emission that may be associated with mineral workings can be caused by: 

mechanical handling operations, including crushing and grading processes where in general the more powerful the machinery and the greater the volumes of material handled the greater the potential for dust emission; 

haulage, where the weight of vehicles, their speed of passage and number of wheels in contact with the ground, and the nature and condition of road surfaces or haul routes all affect the amount of dust emitted; 

blasting; ancillary "manufacturing" operations within quarries (batching plants, concrete plants, asphalt plants etc.); 

wind blow from paved areas, stockpiles etc.

Extent of the Problem The amount of dust generated and emitted from a mineral working and the impact on the surrounding area varies with respect to the following factors:       the types and quantity of mineral and the method of working; the types of processing activities undertaken on a site; the character and land use of the area surrounding the site; the hydrogeology of the site and the vegetation cover; climate/local meteorology and topography; dust control measures employed on the site.

The variation in potential dust impacts between different mineral types is accounted for by a number of factors: 

the scale of operations: generally the more extensive the scale of operations, the more likely that dust will be a concern, 

the nature of the mineral: although softer minerals crumble more easily during handling and may produce a greater number of dust particles, intensive handling of hard minerals may produce large amounts of dust due to higher energy inputs, 

the color and opacity of the mineral: high contrast dust from minerals, such as coal or limestone are generally more likely to be noticed on deposition, 

length of operation: a potential dust problem may be more acceptable if it is known that operations will soon cease or move to another part of the site, 

the type of activities undertaken within a site and the location and duration of those activities, and 

the chemical nature of the dust: will affect the severity of the impacts upon soils and vegetation.

Dust Impacts Ecology and agriculture There are few detailed studies of the effects of dust deposition on ecology and agriculture. The effect that dust will have is determined by a number of variables, including:  the concentration of dust particles in the ambient air and its associated deposition rates. Characteristics of the vegetation and leaf surface can influence the rates of dust deposition on vegetation, such as surface roughness and wetness; 

meteorological and local microclimate conditions and degree of penetration of dust into vegetation; 

size distribution of dust particles; dust chemistry - ranging from highly alkaline dusts e.g. from limestone quarries, to inert dusts, and acidic dusts, such as dusts from coal workings.

Dust may have physical effects on plants such as blockage and damage to stomata, shading, abrasion of leaf surface or cuticle, and cumulative effects e.g. drought stress on already stressed species. The chemical effects of dust, either directly on the plant surface or on the soil, are likely to be more important than any physical effects. Dust deposited on the ground may produce changes in soil chemistry, which may in the longer-term result in changes in plant chemistry, species competition and community structure. Many substances, such as chalk and limestone have traditionally been used in agriculture to increase crop sensitivity. Dust deposition levels are likely to be well below the level of agricultural applications, and therefore effects on agricultural crops are likely to be minimal. Areas of high ecological value or agricultural resources may be more sensitive to dusts than other areas. Examples of sensitive areas include designated nature conservation areas containing sensitive species, intensive horticultural areas, and fruit growing areas.

Nuisance effects

Nuisance dust is the larger size fraction that is visible in the atmosphere. Dust effects on people have been identified as arising from increases in airborne dust concentrations, and deposition levels. Dust depositions on windows, on the outside of the house, and on cars are the most frequently mentioned reasons for concern. The table lists the factors that can determine whether surface soiling by dust is considered a nuisance.

Surface soiling by dust as a nuisance. Deposition on a surface which is usually expected to remain free from dust The color contrast between the deposited dust and the surface upon which it settles The nature of the illumination of the surface - "dinginess" The presence of a nearby clean 'reference' surface against which comparison may be made The rate of change in the visual properties of a surface The identity of the area and the composition of the local community social factors, such as lifestyle and patterns of working The personal experiences and expectations of the observer

The rate of deposition and therefore the time taken for dust deposition to become visible are important influences on the perception of dust. The rates of deposition vary widely with emissions, variations in wind speed and direction and also variations in the background dust concentration. These background levels will determine the reaction of local people to any additional dust from specific mineral sources, together with the following three factors: 

the frequency of dust deposition incidents. A community may be prepared to tolerate an incident once a month, but not repeated incidents at frequencies of one or two a week; 

the amount of deposited dust. The amount of dust will usually decrease with distance, so the proximity to the source will be a major factor in the determining the level of complaint. 

the area affected by deposition. If the emissions increase then there is the possibility of a larger area being affected. This will increase the probability of complaint unless the dust is diluted to a point below which people are concerned. 

One of the problems is how to quantitatively measure the rate and severity of soiling. A number of methods are described later which will avoid dependence on subjective descriptions and complaints.

Health Effects Particulate air pollution is associated with a range of effects on health (from particles less than 10m in diameter, known as PM10) including effects on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, asthma and mortality. Detailed studies have been and continue to be made on the actual level of impact on health. Work published in 1999 by the University Of Newcastle Department Of Epidemiology and Public Health, investigating the impact of particulate matter from opencast workings on public health, found: 

opencast coal mining was associated with a small increase in the mean concentration of airborne particles measured as PM10 in areas close to opencast sites. This was due to an increased concentration of shale rather than soot; 

the respiratory health of children living in communities close to opencast sites was very similar to that of children living in communities distant from such sites; 

increase in particulate concentration close to the opencast sites was mainly due to earth moving and excavation.

Monitoring Predicting the level of dust emission is extremely difficult because of the complex nature of mineral operations and the variable dispersion and dilution characteristics of dust in the air. Heavy reliance is made on minimizing dust production through "good practice" and monitoring actual dust emissions. This clearly presents problems for development approval. In order to fully describe background dust levels and site dust deposition patterns, long-term and detailed dust monitoring would be required. Patterns of airborne dust are extremely variable. In particular, dust patterns are often characterized by few or occasional short-lived dusting events comprising high levels of dust deposition largely caused by particular, and possibly infrequent, combinations of wind and rainfall conditions. At other times dust deposition from the mineral site itself may be low or insignificant, but a property/receptor is still likely to be subject to background and other dust sources. As such it is often important to be able to differentiate dust from multiple

sources (and therefore a need to monitor for direction, color and possibly mineralogy) and to correlate this with site specific meteorological data. As monitoring is conducted for both health and nuisance purposes the sophistication of different monitoring techniques differs greatly. The different monitoring methods can be divided into two categories - active systems and passive systems. Active monitoring devices are based on occupational health and safety monitoring methods and passive systems which were developed through a broader approach to environmental air pollution monitoring, including the nuisance aspect. The nature of the two types of systems mean that active systems are more suited to measuring over minutes, hours and days whereas passive systems are best suited for measuring over days weeks and months.

Some form of quantitative or semi-quantitative measure should be made of rate of deposition and severity of soiling. It is not sufficient simply to rely on descriptions or frequency of complaints. Currently, operators and mineral planning authorities need to agree to site specific schemes incorporating one or more of the techniques and standards. For example, around a site where there are other dust sources, or where there are multiple potential sources within a site, directional dust monitoring using, for example, sticky pads would be highly desirable to allow the relative contributions of multiple sources to be assessed. However, where there is a single dust source, low levels of ambient dust, and few receptors, non-directional measurement of dust levels might be adequate.

The aims and purpose of dust monitoring need to be clear if it is to be effective. Consideration needs to be given to the location and number of monitoring stations, the monitoring objective (i.e. to assess the potential for nuisance effects), the duration and frequency of monitoring and the choice of monitoring gauge (noting that there are various logistical problems associated with different gauges). There are a wide range of monitoring techniques and methods in use for nuisance dust, of which the main types are:  measurement of airborne dust concentrations, by using gauges which sample air volumes or by using light scattering devices that measure the attenuation of light. Such equipment is often very expensive and may not be able to deliver 360 directional information;  measurement of dust deposition using passive dust fall gauges or by examining the progressive soiling by dust. Various methods available, the results from which may be subjective and do not give directional data;  measurement of dust flux that is the movement of dust in air, in a given direction, by means of directional gauges. Will give rise to directional data depending on methodology used. The results may also be subjective if a repeatable technology is not employed;  visual monitoring which is subjective and qualitative.

Passive Monitoring Systems In comparison with active methods, these systems are generally low-tech, with limited development of sophisticated dust monitoring equipment and are generally

applied in monitoring for nuisance dust. Nuisance is a subjective parameter around which sampling and measurement can be difficult to undertake, illustrated by the lack of standard guidelines for nuisance dust emissions. Nuisance is generally related to the visual effects observed by receptors, such as the soiling of surfaces over days and weeks or the short-term visual effect of clouds of dust. Dust has been described as 'not readily definable'. The variation in duration and effect of nuisance dust means that no single measure is most appropriate. Passive systems focus on the soiling aspect of dust with monitoring periods of days, weeks and months. Deposited dust is collected and measured to assess potential soiling effects. The two adopted approaches are the determination of the quantity of dust deposited by mass and the determination of soiling of a surface by a change in its optical properties. These methods can provide non-directional or directional information.

Good Practice Planning Long before any submission of formal development plans to an appropriate authority, a number of actions can be undertaken that will ultimately save considerable resources allowing effective development. These include:     Environmental Impact Assessment with an early scoping exercise; pre-discussions with relevant formal and informal bodies; community consultation and involvement; Environmental Management Systems.

The approaches above identify the main methodologies required for mineral developers to approach effective development proposals. Within these methodologies, further technical measures have been identified which will demonstrate minimal dust impact.

Soil handling and storage: The activity should be carried out as quickly as possible and the storage mound surfaces should be sealed and seeded as soon as is practicable (Photo 13). If possible, protect surfaces from strong winds until the disturbed areas are sealed and stable.

Drilling and blasting: Dust extraction equipment, such as filters, should always be used on exhaust air emissions from drill rigs. It is important that this material is collected properly and not simply allowed to fall to the ground, where it can then be blown about (Photo 14). If it is possible to remove any dusty material which has collected on the blast area prior to detonation, then do so. Otherwise, in dry conditions it may be helpful to water the blast area first (Photo 15).

Overburden handling and storage:

The first step is to minimize the amount of rehandling which obviously has cost benefits as well. Exposed material should be protected from the wind by keeping it within voids or protecting them by topographical features. Exposed surfaces should be sprayed regularly to maintain surface moisture unless the mound surface has formed a crust after rainfall or it has been grassed, which is often a very effective way of controlling fugitive dust. If necessary this can be done on steep broken slopes (Photo 16) as well as flatter ground such as haul roads (Photo 17). Where a dragline is in operation, a high pressure pump can be used to dampen the material as the bucket is being dragged through it (Photo 18). This is mainly to ensure the material is wet when it is cast from the bucket at what may be a considerable height above the surrounding ground.

Loading/Unloading Activities: Dust is most easily picked up in the wind when the material is falling through the air at points of transfer. It is therefore important to reduce the drop heights wherever practicable. Photo 19 shows coal being stockpiled from a conveyor which has a sleeve attached to it to prevent the wind picking up dust as the material falls. In addition it may be necessary to protect the activities from wind by erecting a screen or using a natural barrier

such as the high wall of a site. Fine spray or fog suppression (Photos 20 & 21) can also be used in loading bays which are exposed to the wind and therefore a likely source of dust.

Minerals processing: The solutions to any dust problem will vary depending on the type of equipment used but generally complete enclosure is best with use of air extraction and filter equipment as appropriate. Water sprays can also be used. Material storage: A number of measures can be taken here. Material can be dampened, perhaps with a fine spray (Photo 22); it can be covered over in some way to protect it from the wind; or it can be screened to remove dusty fractions prior to external storage.

Transport by conveyor within site:

Where conveyors are used, either as the major transfer system or simply as part of the processing, the transfer points should be sheltered from the wind. Indeed, it may be necessary to protect the entire conveyor by partially or completely enclosing it (Photo 23). Once again, drop heights should be minimized and water sprays (Photo 24) can be beneficial.

Transport by vehicle within and off-site:

Use paved roads where practicable and where this is not possible make sure that unsurfaced and paved road are dampened when there is the danger of dust being generated. This can be done using water sprays from fixed pipes (Photo 25), water guns or by using a water bowser (Photo 26). Where surfaced or paved roads are used, they should be swept and washed regularly (Photo 27). Vehicle speed should be restricted as there is a direct relationship between the speed and the amount of material that is thrown up in the air. The section on traffic states that all lorries leaving site should be properly sheeted (Photo 28) to prevent dust escaping onto the public highways. However, it may also be advantageous to sheet vehicles being used for internal transfer of dusty materials. Material should be loaded and unloaded in areas protected from the wind and drop heights should be minimized.


Definition Sound can simply be considered as any variation in air pressure that is detected by the human ear. The simplest definition of noise is "unwanted sound". Sound is an inevitable consequence of the working of minerals, although whether this becomes environmental noise depends on whether it impinges on people outside the site. In most cases, there will be a need to remove soil and overburden to expose the mineral. The mineral will need to be excavated and then transported from the quarry face to a processing area. The mineral will then be transported from the quarry site for further processing or direct use. These activities involve the use of powered machinery for excavation and transport of materials within the site. Processing plant on site can often include the use of crushing and grading plant, prior to the mineral being transported off site by road or rail vehicles. On some sites, there will also be noise generated from the blasting of rock. Noise is generally one of the main concerns addressed in the planning documentation for a proposed new or extended mine or quarry. Operators will be required to provide information on existing ambient noise levels, predicted noise levels at different stages of the working of the mine or quarry, and details of noise mitigation measures.

Units of Measurement There are a number of excellent web sites which give good descriptions of the key parameters in noise monitoring. The descriptions which follow are designed to provide the non-expert with a basic understanding of the terms and measures involved. Decibels (dB) Sound has two characteristics which are amplitude and frequency. The amplitude is the amount of pressure exerted by the air and is usually measured in Pascal¶s (Pa). Table 1 shows that the values of cover a vast range, and so they are usually converted into decibels (dB) which is a logarithmic scale. The table gives Pa and dB values for a number of different activities. Noise Sound pressure and level Sound pressure (Pa) 200,000,000 Sound level Example (dB) 140 130 20,000,000 120 110 2,000,000 100 90 200,000 80 70 20,000 60 threshold of pain riveting on steel plate pneumatic drill loud car horn at 1m alarm clock at 1m inside underground train inside bus street-corner traffic conversational speech

50 2000 40 30 200 20 10 20 0

business office living room bedroom at night broadcasting studio normal breathing threshold of hearing

Frequency refers to how quickly the air vibrates and is measured in Hertz (Hz). It is subjectively felt as the pitch of the sound. Broadly, the lowest frequency audible to humans is 18Hz and the highest is 18,000Hz

Measuring noise Noise emissions are measured using sound-level meters, which detect and record changes in sound pressure. Integrating meters also perform statistical analysis and descriptors of interest can be determined directly from the meter. Noise from any particular source is reflected by any facade that directly faces that source. Thus a microphone 1-2m in front of a building would typically yield a level 3dB higher than a free-field measurement (i.e. at least 3.5m away from a facade). Background noise levels can be established by continuous monitoring over a period sufficient to provide a representative picture of the noise environment or by averaging results from short sampling periods.

Potential Effects Preparatory work The initial source of noise on a new mine or quarry is the preparatory works for the site. This will normally entail the provision of a road access, site offices and compound, and usually some mineral processing facilities. On some of the larger sites, there may be the construction of a rail access and sidings and/or the diversion of an existing road or river. Most of these activities are similar to the activities carried out for other large scale developments, and usually last for a limited duration.

Soil stripping

The next activity is the exposure of the mineral for extraction. This will involve the removal of soils and sometimes the removal of overburden. Soils and other soft materials are sometimes removed by scrapers (Photo 2), large items of plant that are either self powered (usually assisted by dozers in the scraping stage ± (Photo3) or towed by dozers (Photo 4). These machines literally scrape up the soils and move them to another area to be deposited. This enables the soils to be stored and reused in future. Another common method is by hydraulic excavators and dump trucks. Noise is an inevitable consequence of the working of minerals. The extraction process for any material will contain a number of noise generating processes. In most cases, there will be a need to remove soil and overburden to expose the mineral. The mineral will need to be excavated and then transported from the quarry face to a

processing area. The mineral will then be transported from the quarry site for further processing or direct use. These activities involve the use of powered machinery for excavation and transport of materials within the site. Processing plant on site can often include the use of crushing and grading plant, prior to the mineral being transported off site by road or rail vehicles. On some sites, there will also be noise generated from the blasting of rock. In most cases, advantage is taken of the removal of the soils to provide baffle mounds (Photo 5). These are soil storage mounds that are generally located on the boundary of the site. The baffle mounds will often provide visual and acoustic screening of the activities taking place on site. As these activities will be taking place on the boundary of the site, the noise levels generated by the formation and removal will be the highest experienced during the life of the site. The highest levels will generally only occur for a matter of days at each location. The next stage will depend on the type of site being operated. For opencast coal sites and some quarries, a thick layer of overburden may need to be removed before exposing the deposit. For most quarries, the soil and overburden to be removed is likely to be relatively thin.

Mineral Extraction Once the mineral is exposed, it can then be extracted. Some minerals such as sands, gravels, clays and coal can be extracted by direct use of an excavating shovel on the mineral. Other materials such as sandstone and limestone will need to be broken

up by blasting or ripping before they can be excavated. Blasting may also occur where overburden is too strong to be excavated directly by shovel. The mineral will then be removed for initial processing or direct removal off site. Often, the mineral is loaded on to dump trucks, but sometimes field conveyors can be used. The noise impact of this activity is that there is normally a number of large diesel engine machines working in the extraction area of the mine or quarry, and a number of dump trucks carrying material from the extraction area to the processing or dispatch area. The noise will vary in level from each item of plant and will include the noise of material being deposited into dump trucks by excavators. However, the further away from the working area, the less noticeable individual items of plant are. The one exception to this is sometimes audible reversing warning devices on trucks, which can be noticeable at considerable distances and be a source of frequent complaints.


Once the mineral has been extracted and removed from the working area, there will normally be some processing carried out on site. This may be screening the material to separate it into different sizes. Some materials may need to be crushed to reduce the size of individual pieces to a manageable size. Crushing plant can be noisy, and for hard rock there is sometimes a need to use a pecker on the largest rocks (Photo 6) before loading onto the dump truck, or a hydraulic breaker at the crush feed. Some

quarry sites may have asphalt coating plants with associated dryers, heaters, mixers and fans (Photo 7). Finally, the material will be ready to be transported off site. This will usually be carried out by heavy goods vehicles, although on some larger sites, the mineral may be transported by other means such as rail or barge.

Location One of the main factors that has an impact on the control of noise from minerals workings is that the mineral can only be worked where it occurs, and the extraction work is carried out in the open air. The minerals location is fixed, and the situation is not like developing a new factory, where there is much more choice in the location of the premises, and the factory building can be designed to provide the necessary attenuation. There is limited scope for reducing environmental noise levels by changing the equipment used to extract the mineral as reducing the size of equipment will generally mean using greater number of items of plant, or prolonging the life of the site.

Plant noise Some progress has been made on limiting plant noise levels through EC Directives. One of the first of these directives in 1986 covered noise from plant such as excavators, dozers and loaders. More recently, a wider range of plant has been covered by the EC Directive 'Noise emission in the environment by equipment for use outdoors'.

Monitoring Prior to submitting a planning application for a minerals site, it is normal for the operator to commission a noise survey of existing noise levels around the site. This would quantify current noise levels at noise-sensitive properties close to the proposed site. The resulting ambient noise should then be agreed before a noise impact assessment is undertaken. This information is used by the operator and local authority to identify appropriate noise limits for the site.

Good Practice General It has been discussed above that there are inherent problems in limiting noise levels from minerals workings because most of the work is carried out in the open and the mineral can only be worked where it occurs. There are however, a number of good practices that can be adopted to minimize the noise impact of a site.

Planning Stage Good noise control for a site is dependent on noise issues being fully assessed and considered at the planning stage of the site. This is the stage at which there is most scope for mitigating noise issues. Once the site is operational, it is much more difficult to significantly change the noise generation from the site without significant cost and timescale implications. Issues to be taken into account at the planning stage should include the situation of screening mounds (Photo 13) and fences, location of processing plant and

maintenance compounds, location of pumps and any other plant operated at night, and haul road location both on site and from the site to the public highway. It is standard practice now that an operator will need to submit details of predicted noise levels for the operation of the site. Modern computerized prediction methods are capable of making accurate predictions of future noise levels, and planning conditions are often based on the results of the predictions.

Choice of equipment There may occasionally be significant noise benefits that can be achieved by choice of equipment used on a site. This may occur if a quieter method of working is used for the site. One example of this is the use of conveyors to transport material as compared with dump trucks. However, there are a large number of operational issues to be balanced against noise considerations, and it is unlikely to be possible for sites always to use the quietest working method. In considering the impact of choice of equipment, it is important to consider that the overall impact of the choice of equipment will mainly be relevant at the surrounding noise-sensitive properties. These locations will experience noise from most if not all items of equipment operating on a site. At most sites where there will be a large number of different noise sources operational, a large reduction in noise levels for one item of plant may not be noticed in the overall site noise. It is only generally if sites are working at night, or there are fixed items of plant close to a noise-sensitive property, that individual items of plant can become dominant.

One specific item of equipment that can cause complaints is the use of vehicle reversing alarms. These are provided for safety reasons for the workforce, and need to generate a certain level of noise to achieve this. However, there are now more options for vehicle reversing alarms such as directional and adjustable systems, which can help to minimize the noise impact.

Maintenance of plant In order to ensure that noise emissions from mineral sites remain acceptable, it is of fundamental importance that the equipment on site is well maintained. Significant increases in noise levels from items of plant can be generated by small defects in silencers or acoustic enclosures not being used as designed. Poor maintenance often leads to the generation of annoying noises, e.g. squeaking bearings, unselected exhausts, which will lead to more complaints than would be expected from the overall increase in noise levels. A summary of the practical measures in the choice and use of plant to reduce noise is given in the table below. Practical measures to reduce noise from plant Adopt a buying policy that includes consideration of noise for all new items of plant. Avoid unnecessary revving of engines and switch off equipment when not required. Ensure plant and vehicles are properly maintained, check silencers and bearings. If the noise is directional, point the source away from noise-sensitive locations. Keep internal haul routes well maintained and avoid steep gradients. Use enclosures for noisy plant such as pumps or generators. Use rubber linings in, for example, chutes and dumpers to reduce impact noise.

Minimize drop height of materials. Limit the use of particularly noisy plant or vehicles. Start up plant and vehicles sequentially rather than together. Ensure the plant and vehicles are operated with noise control hoods closed. Keep lorry tailgates closed where possible. Use any appropriate acoustic treatment equipment. Acoustic screening

Once the working method and equipment for the site have been chosen, acoustic screening is the main method of noise control that can be implemented on the site. Some operations, such as processing of the mineral and maintenance operations, may be able to be carried out within buildings, but most of the operations on site can only be screened rather than enclosed.

Consideration of acoustic screening does need to take place at the site planning stage. The primary method of screening operations is to use baffle mounds or noise fences. Baffle mounds (Photo 15) use material such as soils and overburden that has to be removed to allow access to the mineral. They are generally located on the site boundary and are usually designed to provide screening for noise-sensitive properties. There are sometimes practical limitations on screening all working areas, particularly on sites on hillsides. In some situations, there may be difficulties in providing a mound on













SUMMARY OF GOOD PRACTICE ± NOISE Good Practice for Mineral Planning Authorities Consider the ambient noise, planning policies and the duration of the noise. Discuss any limits and monitoring with the local Environmental Health Officer. Consider the need to agree or specify planning conditions relating to:      noise limits at sensitive houses, etc, for various periods of the day; the provision of monitoring equipment; limits on hours of operation; noise control measures; adherence to a code of practice.

Occasionally, planning conditions will be required for particular activities:   noise emission from plant temporarily working close to houses; Types of plant and/or number of items in use simultaneously.

Good Practice for Operators Discuss noise in advance and demonstrate in their application that proposed conditions can be met. Plan ahead and make sure that:    noise is a factor in the layout, and the nature and sequence of working; work at night near sensitive areas is avoided where possible; screening is part of the design; 


the quieter of the methods or plant available is chosen; especial care is taken with reversing alarms; Haul-roads are screened and without severe gradients.

Ensure that management has the will to run the site as quietly as possible. Check the noise characteristics of plant before use and periodically thereafter; where appropriate retro-fit noisy plant ensure good operation and maintenance.

Make no unnecessary noise and reduce noise emissions, e.g.:          minimize height which material drops from lorries or plant; minimize distance between loading and emptying dragline buckets; reduce clanging of dragline buckets & chains by careful operation; use rubber linings in chutes, dumpers, trucks, transfer points; clad plant and ensure that the cladding is kept free of holes; start items of plant one by one, possibly behind mounds; switch-off equipment when not in use; avoid unnecessary revving of engines; keep noise control hoods closed when machines are in use; keep lorry tailgates closed where possible.

As a last resort, reduce the propagation of noise, by the use of:   temporary bunds; portable screens.


Mineral workings represent a disturbance of the land, so there will always be an impact on the ecology of the area. This impact must be assessed in advance and particular notice taken of rare or endangered species in the wider context of biodiversity. This section considers the ecological impact assessment in some depth and looks at good practice to preserve the wildlife and habitats during the life of the site.

Biodiversity Biodiversity relates to all life forms - mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and other invertebrates, plants, fungi and micro-organisms. Conservation involves both the protection and enhancement of existing resources and the creation of new ones. Much of the effort needed for biodiversity conservation focuses on threatened habitats and species, but ensuring the conservation of the common and widespread is also very important.

Potential Effects The obvious potential negative effects of mineral extraction are that habitats are lost, together with the species that they support. They can be lost through direct removal by excavation, or indirectly through some of the environmental impacts. For example, dust generated during excavation, processing or storage can settle on sensitive habitats and have an adverse effect. Changes in the water regime (surface water or ground water) may cause some habitats to dry out or others to become

flooded. Noise may have no influence on some species, but may affect others. All of these potential impacts should be mitigated in order to minimize the negative impact on biodiversity.

Significance of Impacts Given the variety of potential ecological resources and receptors and their interdependencies, it is important that an ecological assessment highlights the wide range of environmental change that could result in a significant ecological impact.

Having identified and characterized these predicted changes, it is then appropriate to describe the change and the resulting impact. In particular, it is important to indicate whether they will be:     positive or negative; permanent or temporary (i.e. reversible); rapid or delayed in effect; one-off or repeated;

It is also relevant to consider whether the effects are direct or indirect. Direct ecological impacts are changes directly attributable to a defined action such as the physical loss of a tract of lowland heath arising from soil stripping by a shovel and truck operation or the immediate mortality of an individual species (and/or community of species) crushed by working material. Indirect ecological impacts are attributable to an action but arise because of effects on an intermediary ecosystem, process or receptor.

An example of this would be the effect of a site access road on a nearby wetland occurring as a consequence of disruption of the local hydrological regime. Historically, impact assessments have tended to focus on negative effects. However, local plan policies are increasingly promoting the objective of net gain for biodiversity from development. Positive impacts must, like negative ones, be determined in relation to the integrity of the feature. Furthermore, in order to distinguish between positive and negative effects, it should be determined whether the change will promote or obstruct the achievement of favorable conservation status for a natural habitat. The duration of an impact is also a key consideration as all mineral developments will give rise to a combination of both short and longer-term activities that will result in impacts that could be temporary and permanent. It is important to recognize that temporary can also generate permanent impacts. Measuring this type of change is not always straight forward. Temporary loss of food and shelter due to some habitat loss can be reversed in as little as ten years. Most birds and mammals are sufficiently mobile and adaptable to accommodate the temporary change with no significant impact on populations. Conversely, the permanent loss of ancient ground flora from a woodland is likely to be irreversible. Any description of impact should consider the likelihood of the impact occurring. Quantifying levels of uncertainty, e.g. as a percentage, is rarely appropriate. Instead, ecologists should seek to categorize the uncertainty of change as to whether it is of high, medium or low certainty.

To summarize, the key issues to note when determining and describing impacts are:  for any ecological receptor, determination of the impact of a proposal should represent the net effect of all relevant changes, so that the overall description is a realistic representation of the ecological impact or outcome of the proposal for the receptor in question;  it is likely that the description of an impact and the categories that are assigned to it will be partly, if not entirely, qualitative in their description;  from the description it should be clear whether the impact is of negative or positive direction;  the level of certainty regarding the assessment of the level impact (including the likely success of any proposed mitigation) should be estimated, as objectively as possible.

Implications of Impacts All ecological impact assessments need to include a description of the likely significant effects of a proposal on the environment, so that these can be taken into consideration by decision-makers determining whether to give consent to a particular project, and if so on what conditions. However, the concept of significance remains largely undefined. The criteria and standards used for assessing the significance of ecological impacts are varied and the decisions necessarily subjective. In order to assist this process, a matrix of ecological impacts has been proposed as part of the new guidelines for ecological assessment (in press). In summary, the

matrix defines impacts as major negative, negative, neutral, positive and major positive and then the receptor that the impact affects according to its significance level, i.e. international, national, regional, county, district or parish. The external implications arising from the evaluation of the significance of ecological effects as described above are likely to fall into three main categories. These are:  legal implications - licensing requirements, usually relating to protected species/habitats or other regulatory instruments;   policy implications; implications for the detailed design and implementation of the mineral development are granted.

It is important to note that:   for protected species it is necessary to demonstrate compliance with the law; legislation and policy will identify the levels of impact, if any, that are acceptable for any given proposal and also what kind and scale of measures that will be necessary in order to compensate or mitigate for these impacts;  failure to take account of the local legal and policy context will inevitably result in the planning permission being refused.

Good Practice If best site practice in respect of noise, dust and water is adhered to, adverse impacts on existing wildlife and habitats should be minimized. It is inevitable that there will be some disruption to animal populations living close by or within the operational site. However, observations suggest that species do become accustomed to the noise and disturbance within a mineral site and no significant impacts on reproductive success have been noted. This section now deals with some practical examples of measures that can be taken to mitigate for any negative impacts, as well as opportunities for adding to or enhancing existing habitats. Planning Stage   Work in partnership with nature and others. Identify potential mineral sites that, through restoration, can contribute to BAP targets without causing significant damage to existing biodiversity.  Make this potential contribution an important criterion in site selection - strategic environmental assessment can assist in the selection process.   Plan habitat creation based on the 'habitat network'. Treat environmental assessment as a process that parallels and links to scheme design.

Operating Site  Monitor sites to identify new species and habitats that appear during operation. 

Wherever possible, implement working practices to accommodate these species/habitats. 

Implement working practices that reduce noise, dust and other impacts that can indirectly affect wildlife.

Restored Site  Put in place management measures for restored sites that meet the long term needs of biodiversity conservation.  Implement the management needed to conserve valuable habitats or to restore degraded areas on non-operational land.

Other Activities      Consider preparing corporate statements of commitment to biodiversity. Encourage staff to attend training courses geared to biodiversity and minerals. Contribute to research on biodiversity. Share you experience in habitat creation, restoration and management. Encourage educational and recreational use of restored and non-operational sites (where this does not cause damage).

Design around the problem As ever, the best option is to design the site in a way which seeks to avoid creating an impact in the first place. Ultimately, if the impact cannot be avoided, then a

decision must be made by the developer as to whether a planning application should still be submitted. If it is and if permission is to be recommended by planning officers, then appropriate mitigation needs to be in place to ensure the impact is minimized.

Protection of habitat It is likely that some habitat and therefore wildlife will survive and even thrive during the lifetime of a mineral extraction site in areas which are not excavated. Therefore, operators should aim to ensure that wildlife is protected at all times so that it can co-exist alongside operations wherever possible. During most operations a small percentage of the original landform/habitat is retained which helps by acting as a refuge. Such refuge areas will most likely require management to retain their features of interest. This does not need to be an onerous activity.  Maintain some space adjacent to woodland habitats especially where wildlife is known to feed.  Leave margins around or along trees and hedges (e.g. 4m for hedges, 5m beyond the spread of trees for hedges with trees, 10m for trees and 15m for woodland).   Leave margins for ditches. Ensure that at least part of a suitable habitat is always available for any rare species.  Phase workings adjacent to woodlands and progressively work and restore sites to give the ecosystem more chance to survive and recover naturally.

Creation of habitats Although the creation of new habitats can readily be incorporated into the restoration design of a site, occasionally there may be opportunities for habitats and species populations to be enhanced during the operational life of the site. Sometimes this may be 'accidental' such as the creation of a suitable nesting site for peregrine falcons in a quarry face in North Yorkshire. This was not planned and obviously has implications for the working of the site during the nesting season. More often, new habitats can be created that are appropriate to the region in areas of the site which are not being excavated. These can include meadows, wetlands, ponds, etc. and of course are particularly important where they are replacing habitats which may be destroyed by the excavation. An example of this is the creation of new pond areas to support populations of Great Crested Newt which are important in the area (Photo 9). If possible, these should be established in areas which are not going to be disturbed again in the future.

Developers should try to seek them out for consultation, though they should not assume they will be supportive of a planned relocation.

Translocation of features There are some features such as shrubs and hedgerows which can be physically lifted up and relocated in an area which will remain undisturbed. An example is given in Photos 10 and 11 which show a hedgerow which has just been transplanted (Photo 10) and the same one 6 months later (Photo 11) having successfully become established. This is probably more important for the habitat it represents, than for the hedgerow itself. Hedges should not be transplanted during the nesting season.

However a note of caution should be added here. There are also many failures with translocation and the planning authority is unlikely to view a proposal as one that will overcome fundamental concerns. Translocation must be thoroughly planned and executed, followed by meticulous attention and effective watering. Even then the translocated plants may simply survive rather than thrive.

Wider Impacts Another key consideration for operators is the avoidance of adverse impacts on neighboring habitats of value. A potential indirect impact of mineral extraction is the dewatering due to lowering groundwater.

SUMMARY OF GOOD PRACTICE Good Practice for Mineral Planning Authorities Consider the need to encourage or agree or specify planning conditions relating to:       a comprehensive baseline study of the ecosystem; safeguarding or creation habitats as part of the local Biodiversity Action Plan; buffer zones between workings and sensitive habitats, etc.; progressive working and restoration to ensure continuity of habitats; providing alternative habitats for defined species; transplanting valuable flora as a last resort.

Good Practice for Operators  Be aware of ecological issues, probably employing a consultant to carry out a detailed baseline survey.  Be familiar with the local Biodiversity Action Plan which and seek to play a role in achieving some of the targets through habitat creation.  Make every attempt to design around any issues which are highlighted in the baseline study.   Be aware of the effects of drainage on nearby ponds. Be on the lookout for early signs of distress in the ecosystem or agriculture and be prepared to act before significant problems occur.  Take measures to protect the existing habitats such as:  maintain some space adjacent to woodland habitats especially where wildlife is known to feed; 

leave margins around or along trees and hedges (e.g. 4m for hedges, 5m beyond the spread of trees for hedges with trees, 10m for trees and 15m for woodland);  leave margins for ditches;  ensure that at least part of a suitable habitat is always available for any rare species;  phase workings adjacent to woodlands and progressively work and restore sites to give the ecosystem more chance to survive and recover naturally. 

Progressively work and restore wherever possible to minimize the risk of permanent damage to the ecosystem and to maximize the speed at which it will recover. 

Be prepared to transplant valuable habitats and flora, but be aware of the limitations of this. 

Stop working in vicinity of nests during breeding season.


Definition Quarry wastes are a largely unavoidable by-product of the extraction and processing of aggregates .They are defined as wastes because no market currently exists for them, but unlike many other wastes they are generally inert and nonhazardous. Materials that may be classified as quarry wastes include overburden (although this is frequently used in restoration) and interburden (material of limited value that occurs above or between layers of economic aggregate material) and processing wastes (non-marketable, mostly fine-grained material from screening, crushing and other processing activities) Quarry fines, are the inherent fraction of an aggregate passing 0.063 mm (63 microns). Many quarries also refer to their (sub-economic) fine aggregate (finer than 4 mm) as quarry fines (or quarry dust). The term is used here to denote both fine aggregate and quarry fines (material <63 microns). Quarry fines can be considered a mixture of coarse, medium and fine sand material, and silt / clay (silt and clay is known collectively as filler). In general terms, the higher the proportion of fine sand, silt and clay, the greater the environmental and social impacts and costs of production, storage and disposal, as the material is difficult to handle and is more prone to mobilization under the action of gravity, wind and water. The filler content has a major impact on technical properties and on potential end use. The filler content of quarry fines may be reduced by washing with water or by other

methods of separation to produce a clean, saleable sand product. The silt and clay residue is usually a waste product.

Environmental Issues Although they are generally inert and non-hazardous, the generation, treatment and/or disposal of quarry waste and quarry fines can be a source of friction between aggregates companies, local communities and other stakeholders. This is particularly true if a site is producing more than originally planned or that can be properly accommodated within the site boundary. Therefore, ensuring that the site design is correct at the planning stage is essential. Due to the environmental, social and economic costs associated with storing and managing wastes, aggregates companies try to first minimize the generation of waste and then find beneficial uses for any waste that is produced. However, at some sites there is a net excess of waste after beneficial uses have been considered, and this must be managed to avoid environmental and social impact. In general terms, the potential impacts of quarry waste can be summarized as:

Visual intrusion: Quarry waste tips and quarry fines stockpiles can be a significant visual intrusion, mainly when waste is dumped off-site or above the skyline (especially when it is not landscaped or vegetated). Although it is often used as a visual or noise screen, it can be considered an eyesore.

Water: Run-off from quarry waste tips or quarry fines stockpiles can cause erosion and contaminate local watercourses. Suspended solids (and acid drainage) may harm freshwater ecosystems and impact on other water users. Waste may also create problems if dumped on flood plains where it may exacerbate flooding. Settled silt and clay can also be washed out and displaced from settling ponds and lagoons during storm events.

Dust: Large quarry waste tips or quarry fines stockpiles can be a source of airborne dust, which can be exacerbated if they are elevated above the original ground level. Dust may also originate from air filtration units/ stacks, haulage trucks, conveyors and transfer points.

IMPACTS The effects of dust, suspended solids and disposal have been used to define potential impacts on air, water quality, land quality, fauna and flora, human health and local communities or other stakeholders. Water consumption is addressed as a separate impact.

Air quality

Dust: Dust can have a substantial impact on air quality. Generally the impacts diminish as distance from the source increases and the most acute impacts are likely to occur in enclosed spaces (for example the processing plant) or in close proximity to major sources. Impacts resulting from air quality degradation can include those related to health (although these are typically linked to occupational rather than environmental exposure), visual intrusion and, most commonly, nuisance for surround communities and businesses.

Suspended solids: As suspended solids are by definition those particulates present in water, they have no direct impact on air quality. However, indirect impacts on air quality may arise via the disposal of fine material recovered from water.

Disposal: Disposal areas are a major potential source of dust during operational activities. The impact may extend beyond the closure of operations if steps are not taken to address long-term dust creation and can be exacerbated by the fact that disposal areas are elevated above the original ground level. Dried silt ponds may also be a source of dust, unless they are capped with soil.

Water quality Dust: Transfer of dust from the air to surface waters can result in contamination. Impacts generally relate to the presence of suspended solids (in addition to those arising from water erosion). In rare cases, physical impacts may be aggravated by the presence of chemically active minerals in the dust (e.g. limestone contains alkaline calcium carbonate and sulfides) that can alter water chemistry and suitability for the fauna and flora that it supports.

Suspended solids: Suspended solids are generally inert, although there may be exceptions (the most common being minerals that alter the water pH). Even inert solids can have a significant impact on water, and on the fauna and flora that it supports. The presence of suspended solids can affect water quality far beyond the site boundary; this can seriously impair the use and increase the cost of water for other users and uses (e.g. drinking water, industrial uses, irrigation, and fisheries, as a coolant and for recreational purposes).

Disposal: Disposal areas are a major potential source of suspended solids in run-off that may ultimately report to surface waters. Disposal areas may affect the surface water regime (e.g. by changing surface water flow paths). Quarry waste or quarry fines disposal may also create problems if dumped in or near areas prone to flooding.

Land Quality Dust: Dust impacts are relatively limited in most cases. Rarely the presence of chemically active mineral phases in the dust (e.g. sulfides occasionally present at hard rock quarries) may alter soil chemistry and suitability for the fauna and flora that the soil supports.

Suspended solids: In most circumstances direct impacts from suspended solids are unlikely.

Disposal: Temporary or permanent land sterilization may result from the use of space within or outside the working area, some of which could otherwise be put to beneficial use. Temporary or permanent loss of the associated fauna and flora are also likely, although this can be mitigated by appropriate restoration of the disposal areas.

Fauna and Flora Dust: Coating of vegetation and contamination of soils could possibly reduce the yield and value of agricultural products. Although generally inert, the chemical nature of the dust will sometimes influence the severity of the impacts upon soils and vegetation. Dust may have physical effects on plants such as abrasion of plants, shading, and cumulative effects e.g. drought stress. The chemical effects of dust are likely to be more

important than any physical effects. Dust deposited on the ground may produce changes in soil chemistry, which may in the longer-term result in changes in plant chemistry, species competition and community structure. Agricultural lime (crushed limestone) has traditionally been used to increase crop productivity; limestone dust deposition is likely to be well below the level of agricultural applications and effects on crops are likely to be minimal. Areas of high ecological value or agricultural resources, such as designated nature conservation areas containing sensitive species, intensive horticultural areas, and fruit growing areas, may be more sensitive to dusts than other areas.

Suspended solids: Silt can detrimentally affect fish spawning grounds, cause damage to fish gills and impact the invertebrate species resident in watercourse sediments. Suspended solids also reduce penetration by sunlight. Blanketing of benthic flora and changes in bottom morphology and characteristics may occur, particularly in areas where suspended solids tend to settle out, with associated impacts on flora and fauna. Exposure to suspended solids may result in the death of fish, biodiversity impacts and food chain disruption.

Disposal: Inhibition of vegetative regeneration and impacts on biodiversity may all result from disposal activities.

Human health Dust: Potential health impacts are almost exclusively linked to the presence of airborne dusts, in particular respirable particles. Respirable particles, i.e. those that are less than 10 µm in diameter (also known as PM10), have the potential to cause effects on human health, including effects on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Atmospheric levels of PM10 are composed of three main types. Primary particulate matter (from combustion sources, particularly road traffic); secondary particulate matter (mainly sulfate and nitrate formed by chemical reactions in the atmosphere); and coarse particulate matter (consisting of suspended soils and dusts, sea-salt, biological particles and particles from construction and quarrying). The term 'pneumoconiosis' refers to a group of lung diseases caused by the inhalation of dusts. Most cases occur in retired workers, the majority from the coal mining industry; other industries affected being quarrying, foundries and potteries, where silica is the predominant cause. Repeated and prolonged (10 - 15+ years) occupational exposure over many years to relatively high concentrations of crystalline silica in the respirable size range can cause the lung disease silicosis and can also be associated with lung cancer.

Suspended solids: Waterborne fines do not pose a significant risk to human health.

Disposal: No direct impact on human health.

Local communities and other stakeholders Dust-related: Local communities can potentially be affected by dust up to 1 km from the source, although concerns about dust are most likely within 100 meters. Deposited dust gives rise to the greatest number of complaints to quarries from local communities, particularly for contrasting colors that are more noticeable on deposition. Settled particles may show up particularly on clean or polished surfaces such as cars, windows and window ledges, or surfaces that are usually expected to remain free from dust. There may be many sources of dust that are unrelated to aggregates production, which may not always be readily distinguishable from site dust and so may give rise to unwarranted complaints. In these cases an operator may need to demonstrate that the dust does not originate at their site. There may be a local perception of elevated risks to human health from inhalation of dusts originating at quarry sites despite evidence to the contrary. Visual and nuisance impacts, for example plumes, reduced visibility, coating and soiling of surfaces leading to annoyance, loss of amenity and a need to clean surfaces and materials. Physical and / or chemical contamination and corrosion of artifacts leading to increased cleaning and maintenance requirements and impacts on specific industrial activities (e.g. degradation of paint or polish finishes, and the contamination of

laboratory, quality control and medical facilities). Impacts may be aggravated in some cases by the presence of chemically active mineral phases in the dust (e.g. limestone, and sulfides sometimes present at some hard rock quarries).

Suspended solids: The presence of fines can cause turbidity in water; which may limit its use for public supply, irrigation, and industrial applications. It also has an aesthetic impact.

Disposal: Waste dumps can be a visual intrusion; particularly when waste is dumped at or near site boundaries, or piled-up above the skyline, especially when it is not landscaped or vegetated. Although often used as a visual or noise screen, it can be considered an eyesore. Concerns arise about tip stability, including long-term erosion and major shortterm failures.

Water use and consumption Excessive water abstraction from surface waters may impair essential aquatic ecosystem functions, leading to ecosystem degradation or loss, with impacts on associated fauna and flora. Abstraction from groundwater may locally depress the water table, causing direct and indirect environmental impacts over an extended area. In both cases, the availability of water to other users may be significantly reduced (note, however, that changes in the regulation of abstraction are more likely to result in

reduced availability for quarrying operations in the future). Impacts may be aggravated by factors such as rate and timing of abstraction. Efforts to reduce water consumption by recovery and reuse may have significant economic, environmental and social implications. For example, the use of settling ponds and lagoons may sterilize otherwise useful land and bury or require the relocation of existing fauna and flora, while local communities may have negative perceptions of settling ponds and lagoons for environmental and aesthetic reasons. Impacts may also extend into local surface waters during storm events if solids are washed out' of the pond or lagoon. Although water may be consumed on site in order to suppress dust, the most significant use of water is in washing plants, which are designed to remove fine-grained particles and recover a clean aggregate product from crushed rock or sand and gravel. Water consumption and contamination are important factors behind the consideration of waterless or water efficient fines recovery methods. The use of water efficient technology, water recycling (for example, through the use of settling ponds or lagoons or thickener/ filter press methods to remove contained solids) can all substantially reduce the overall consumption of water at a site.

Minimization The need to minimize fines is driven in part by the environmental and social consequences of their production and the costs of dealing with increasing volumes. While difficult to quantify in financial terms, such consequences may represent a substantial business risk for companies, not least through damage to corporate

reputation when impacts occur. Regulatory compliance is another major driver and is likely to remain so water and air quality are highly regulated, for example:

Government or Regulatory Authorities  development of policies to protect, enhance and preserve air, water and land resources    enforcement of compliance with relevant regulations and laws sustainable use of resources protection of sensitive species

Company         increased operating efficiency and reduced production costs improved health and safety for workers reduced risk of breaching consents and prosecution reduced long-term liabilities reduced waste storage space, handling, transport and disposal costs reduced monitoring costs reduced administration with regard to waste disposal improved company image in the eyes of the shareholders, employees and community Local communities    protection and preservation of the local environment access to, and use of, high quality local water- and land-based amenities uncertainty and concern regarding exposure to contaminants

Non governmental organizations / pressure groups   monitoring compliance focus on site-specific issues

Mitigation An operator will normally use a mixture of approaches to deal with quarry wastes; the mix being determined by what is technically and economically feasible, taking into account the concerns of local communities and other stakeholders and planning obligations.

Plan for quarry waste disposal All approaches to dealing with quarry wastes are underpinned by the careful planning for disposal. It is essential that the operator has accurately calculated the total waste volume (bearing in mind any capacity to avoid waste generation or find beneficial uses) and can properly accommodate this within the site design. If the design is not right, site development problems are likely to arise from waste disposal issues. Waste tips should be located to minimize potential effects on the landscape and surface water flow and quality and take into consideration potential land-use conflicts with local communities and stakeholders.

Find beneficial uses for wastes As noted above, quarry wastes can often be put to beneficial use around the site and have long been used to ameliorate the impact of workings on the landscape

through the use of screening banks, backfilling, replication or simulation of natural landforms and to prepare ground for revegetation and restoration. Soil materials should be stored in a manner that protects their physical, chemical and biological characteristics until they are required for restoration. Good practice should be implemented to prevent environmental and social impacts from wastes for which no beneficial uses exist. Quarry waste tips must be designed, constructed, operated and maintained to avoid instability or movement that might give rise to health and safety risks. Incidents involving tip instability are now rare. Ideally all waste should be kept out of sight within the workings to reduce visual impacts and the risk of dust dispersion. Where tips cannot be hidden their height and shape should be managed to reduce their visual impact and exposure to wind erosion. Amenity banks are an exception. Waste tips should be revegetated as soon as possible to prevent wind and water erosion (and subsequent dust generation and contamination of surface waters with suspended solids). Non-vegetated waste tips are liable to erosion and collapse. Bare tips should be kept wet during hot dry weather to control dust generation. Surface runoff from waste tips should be captured and treated to remove suspended solids prior to discharge. On closure, tips should be regraded where necessary to create a stable final landform and to prepare them for revegetation and integration with the surrounding landscape.


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