Site Selection and Strategic Checklist
Here are questions that must be addressed during the planning and design of a quarry:
Control of land
- Lease or freehold?
- Any ransom strips or similar issues (especially in relation to access)?
Any additional land to be purchased or secured?
Mineral resources and viability
- Who owns the minerals?
- If there is a lease, what are the terms and what royalty/rental payments are required?
- What is the size of the resource and what level of risk is there attached to the estimate?
- Is the resource quality, quantity, ratio and confidence of the estimates sufficient to justify investment and yield a satisfactory return? If not, what additional investigations are necessary?
- What is the ratio of overburden and waste to recoverable minerals? Are there any problems with scheduling, storage or disposal of these materials?
- What is the downside risk relating to recoverable minerals, quarry waste and void volumes?
Demand for product and added value products
- Can you sell the product(s) or use it in a secondary process? Is there demand for landfill void?
- At what rate and cost can you produce minerals from this site? At what selling price, and for how long?
- Who are your competitors, and what are your relative competitive advantages and disadvantages?
- Is the viability of the project sensitive to market/economic trends?
Planning status and cycles
- Does the site already have planning permission for the proposed development?
- Is the site identified for mineral extraction and/or landfill in local or regional plans? If not, when will the next opportunity be to promote the site for inclusion?
- Are there any local designations or policies that might preclude mineral extraction?
- Are there any mitigating arguments that might successfully be put forward?
Human & environmental constraints
- How close is the site to the nearest community, dwelling or public open space?
- Is the site context rural or urban? What existing industrial, commercial or mineral extraction activities take place in the area?
- What are the most important environmental issues relating to the site (visual/landscape impact, noise, dust, impact on water, blast vibrations, traffic, ecology)? Are there any that cannot be mitigated without compromising viability?
- Are there geotechnical settings that might compromise security of third-party land or the safety or practicality of the operation? If so, can these be mitigated through design (including more gradual slopes, larger standoffs, alterations to method or sequence of working) without compromising viability?
- Is it possible to access the identified mineral resource with inherently safe haulage systems—especially haul roads at satisfactory vertical and horizontal alignments?
- Can waste be accommodated in temporary storage or backfilled in the course of the operation without compromising viability?
- Is there sufficient space on-site for surface and groundwater management and control of discharges? Are there any potential difficulties with securing a discharge license, and is an abstraction license required?
Restoration options, after-use and long-term asset value
- What restoration options would be suitable in this area and can they be implemented progressively?
- What are the cost implications of the restoration options and is there any added-value opportunity—such as landfill, recreational facilities, or creation of a site suitable for development.