Quarrying is a process of removing stone, rock, sand, gravel, construction aggregate, or other minerals from an open pit mine or the ground. These extracted materials are typically used to produce products that are intended for construction and other industrial uses. Most operations that revolve around the quarrying process are regulated by governments to reduce drastic environmental impacts.
Several processes that are related to quarrying in Australia are administered by the Sustainable Planning Act. Before quarrying companies can actually start their operations, they are required to obtain a development permit so that their quarrying processes and their products will always be regulated.
Importance of Quarrying
Extracting raw materials from the ground can create opposing views among people. And so, authorities have carefully crafted rules that will make the whole quarrying process safe for the environment, and at the same time, beneficial for the economy. But as soon as they are permitted to extract raw materials, their products can hugely help industries and communities thrive and survive.
Many homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities in Australia rely heavily on raw products. While some materials that the construction industry uses may have been reprocessed and recycled, others can only be accessed and retrieved from the ground. Without quarrying companies, builders will find it difficult to gain access to stone, metals, and other materials needed for their works.
Aside from the construction industry, quarrying can also provide tons of jobs to local communities. The quarrying industry is known for providing thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. In doing so, families can effectively gain stable sources of income without losing compromising anything.
The Quarrying Processes
The first step in any quarrying activity is to plan everything thoroughly. Raw materials such as stone, sand, and gravel come from different locations. And so, quarrying companies must determine these locations precisely to avoid wasting time and resources. Additionally, transport routes must be established near these locations to make the transport process of these materials efficient along the way.
Once the planned quarrying activities are approved by the authorities, the quarrying companies can eventually proceed with the extraction. Large chunks of rocks are dislodged from the walls before crushing them to effectively reduce their overall size. Usually, the smaller pieces of materials are subsequently transported to a conveyor belt to reduce their size again, sort them out, and take out any impurities.
Materials that have been crushed and graded during the last process will then be transported by land or sea so that they can be used by various industries. Most of these materials are sent to construction sites or plants for them to be used or stored for retail.
Limitations of Quarrying
But just like other ground extraction activities, quarrying also has a set of limitations.
Most processes that revolve around quarrying can still pose some harm to wildlife habitats and agricultural land. Noise and dust can still be produced by quarrying’s initial extraction process. And if the transport routes near the excavation sites are narrow, then communities may expect congestion on these mentioned parts. Vibrations that may come from heavy traffic and excavation activities can likewise damage nearby homes, buildings, and infrastructures.
Some materials that are extracted by quarrying may also be non-renewable, which means that their overall supply is very limited.