Changes to Nullaki limestone operation brought to council after high number of public comment objections

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
The City of Albany council will consider changes to the operating conditions of a controversial Nullaki limestone operation this month.
Camera IconThe City of Albany council will consider changes to the operating conditions of a controversial Nullaki limestone operation this month. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

An application from Great Southern Lime to change the conditions attached to its controversial Nullaki extraction operation will be considered by Albany’s council this month.

The application, which is to change four conditions of the operation’s 45 conditions, received 74 submissions during a public comment period earlier this year, most of which were opposed to changes.

Development approval for the Nullaki operation was granted by the State Administrative Tribunal in 2019 despite concern at the time about the environmental impact and previously being rejected twice by the City’s council.

Protesters from the Nullaki Action Group previously clashed with operators of the mine when vegetation was cleared to make way for a road in 2021.

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Great Southern Lime has now asked for changes to the conditions relating to the size of operational areas, when extraction can take place, how many daily movements are allowed, and when a yearly compliance report is due.

In a letter to the City, GSL director Graeme Robertson says the requested changes to conditions “are to address the safety factors raised by DMIRS (Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety) after their recent inspection”.

The letter states that proposed changes to operations to allow for the storage of limestone at the base of the site’s hill will allow for easier access by third parties.

It states the change would require smaller dump trucks to operate eight months of the year, beyond the current limitation of four months of annual on-site operation, to fill the 50,000-tonne storage zone.

Proposed changes to the number of allowed movements from a maximum of 14 a day to an average of 14 during the four months are to “address the need for flexibility” according to Mr Robertson’s letter.

The final requested change is to push back the reporting date to June 30 from May 30.

Objections registered to the most recent application include the potential damage to habitat and breeding ability of the endangered Australasian bitterns, the impacts of increased noise due to an expanded operating period and the risk caused by a greater concentration of truck movements.

The council will consider the application at Wednesday’s Development and Infrastructure Services committee meeting, before deciding on the requested changes at its ordinary council meeting on December 19.

The City officer’s report for the meetings recommends the requested changes be slightly altered before being approved by the council.

They specify on-site limestone extraction and transportation to the stockpile should be limited to between January and the end of August.

The changes to include a stockpiling area and an average daily movement limit have been included in the officer’s recommendations.

In recent weeks GSL has taken to running advertisements aiming to educate the community about the proposed changes ahead of the matter coming before the council.

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