The Dubbo Zirconia Project is expected to extract up to 1 million tons of rare earth ores per year for at least 20 years. After on-site processing, around 75,000 tonnes of ore per year will be sent to Port Botany or Newcastle for export. Very large volumes of material will be transported to the mine site for use in processing. These materials may be transported by either rail or road, or a combination of both. Significant decisions on related transport issues will be made over the next few years.
At the February 2015 meeting held at Harden, Mark Stacey of Dubbo City Council explained the recently released Environmental Impact Assessment, which recommends that rail transport options be examined as well as road. There is strong support for using a disused railway which is adjacent to the mine site. Mike Sullivan, representing Australian Zirconia Ltd, had explained the project at the May 2014 meeting.
Despite the recommendation that rail transport be examined, support for the rail option expressed by the Dubbo community and City Council and the cost of road upgrades (possibly $10 million) necessary for road transport, there is no evidence of serious consideration being given to the rail option.
Local road traffic will be significantly increased if the mine remains dependent on road transport with heavy vehicles. This may have implications for safety, increased traffic in Dubbo and additional road maintenance costs.
People may wish to follow developments through Dubbo City Council and make their views known to their local representatives.
People may wish to make their views known to the New South Wales Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Minister for Roads and Freight, the Minister for Planning and local parliamentary representatives directly or with letters to newspapers.
Suitable words for a message could include ‘I note that approval for the Dubbo Zirconia Project granted in 2015 includes a recommendation that consideration be given to rail transport. I am concerned that road traffic generated by the project will bring increased heavy vehicle numbers in and around Dubbo. Moreover, it appears that a lot of money may be spent on roadworks and maintenance while the rail option is investigated. There is a disused railway adjacent to the mine. Could you please advise what consideration is being given to the rail option and explain why rail is not to be used immediately.’
You can send a message to Anthony Roberts, NSW Minister for Planning here. We suggest you put ‘Dubbo Zirconia Project’ in the subject line and choose ‘comment’ in the type of inquiry box.
You can send a message to Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Transport here. We suggest you put ‘Dubbo Zirconia Project’ in the subject line and choose ‘rail’ in the category box.
You can send a message to Melinda Pavey, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight here. We suggest you put ‘Dubbo Zirconia Project’ in the subject line and choose ‘freight’ in the category box.
You could also send the same or a similar message to your local member of the NSW Parliament. These are listed with email addresses here.
Letters to the editors of newspapers, including The Sydney Morning Herald (email to: firstname.lastname@example.org) would also help to raise awareness of the issue. Some hints to help having letters published in The Sydney Morning Herald are available here.
Date Published: Monday, 25 September 2017 1:10 PM
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