PLANS for a 10 million tonne state significant sandmine next door to a primary school have shocked a small community in Port Stephens.
Developers of the Bobs Farm Sand Mine are seeking state government approval to extract about 750,000 tonnes of sand a year from a 40-plus hectare stretch of land fronting Nelson Bay Road.
The mine, only a few kilometres north of another major sand quarry approved last year after a seven-year saga, would create about 200 truck movements a day and have a lifespan of roughly 15 years if it went ahead.
It has an estimated value in the ‘‘hundreds of millions’’.
Tattersall Lander, a consultants firm in Raymond Terrace, is handling the development for owner Ammos Resource Limited, a Sydney-based company.
Tattersalls is in the process of preparing an environmental impact statement for the Department of Planning.
Company director Bob Lander stunned residents of the suburb of Bobs Farm, about 15 kilometres south of Nelson Bay, when he confronted them with plans for the mine for the first time at a community meeting attended by about 70 people on Tuesday night.
He said the company was still in the process of responding to Department of Planning requests for information and an environmental impact statement ‘‘won’t be lodged before Christmas’’.
‘‘No one wants a coalmine [or] a sand mine next to their property [but] out job is to say ‘how can we do that so that you hardly know it’s there’,’’ he told the meeting.
‘‘We’re not here trying to railroad you.’’
The mine – which sits on a former fig farm – has preliminary plans for trucks to enter via Nelson Bay Road but exit via Marsh Road.
Marsh Road is a small, single-lane patch of tarmac on which the tiny Bobs Farm School – enrolment 29 – sits.
The news the traffic would run so close to the school left many at the meeting unhappy, with parent and nearby resident Shea Brunt asking how the company would ‘‘manage and compensate the school’’ for the increased noise and dust likely to be generated.
‘‘I’m a mum and a primary producer, I rely on water to produce, I need to know how this is going to impact the hydrology on my property,’’ she said.
Some were angry it was the first they were hearing about the development. Many only heard about the meeting – required under legislation for state significant developments – after a school P&C letterbox drop.
Last October the Planning and Assessment Commission approved a new access road off Nelson Bay a Road for a sand mine partially owned by Port Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie after a long-running saga.
One nearby resident vented frustration that another mine would mean the number of trucks on Nelson Bay Road would continue to sky rocket.