A PROPOSAL to expand a $15 million Brandy Hill quarry could see 1.5 million tonnes of hard-rock material extracted annually for 30 years, almost doubling what is currently processed from the site.
Hanson, one of the world's leading heavy building materials companies, runs the quarry at 979 Clarencetown Road, Seaham, which has been in operation since 1983.
It is a significant supplier of rhyodacite hard-rock-aggregates, used on building and construction sites, to the Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney region.
In March this year Hanson applied to the NSW Department of Planning (DoP) to extend its quarry, proposing to increase annual production to 1.5 million tonnes per year and to allow for a concrete batching production and concrete recycling plant.
As part of the application Hanson is also looking to include 24-hour operations for sales and despatch and to move and replace existing infrastructure 500 metres south to allow for the extraction boundary increase.
A Hanson spokesman said the expansion would help ensure quality rock product for the area's future growth and development.
"It is extremely important as the site supplies essential building materials for the Hunter construction market," he said.
He said the company had submitted the development application thinking about the future and that for the short term things would stay as they were.
"The concrete production facility would need to be added. Plant layout, etc will be determined at a future date," he said.
"Its (concrete batching) inclusion in the DA is a possible option at this stage. A timeframe has not been set for commencement of its operation."
When asked how much the site contributed to the area's economy the spokesman said potentially millions.
"The site's fixed and variable costs for 2012 was $11 million," he said,
While Hanson currently employs 18 people at the quarry the spokesman said he was unable to comment in the long term but at this stage that number would not change.
"It will remain at 18 for the short to medium term," he said.
Hanson's preliminary environmental assessment states that Port Stephens Council's original approval, issued on December 22, 1983, did not set production limits, hours of operation or transport movement limits.
But the site was currently extracting about 620,000 tonnes of hard rock per year and there were about 150 truck movements a day.
Application requirements include assessing environmental impacts, traffic predictions, and noise impacts, to name a few.
Once a final EIS is submitted it will go on public exhibition.
Details at majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=5899.