Quarry industry earns praise for environmental work

Media Release 18.07.07

Cement producer, Holcim has won an Environmental Excellence Award for work over more than 20 years rehabilitating the quarry supplying lime to its cement factory at Cape Foulwind near Westport.
Former parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Morgan Williams and Institute of Professional Engineers President, Jeff Jones announced the annual MIMICO award in Wellington last Friday, (July 13) concluding the 39th Annual Conference of the nation’s aggregate and quarry industry.

The judges said the work at Cape Foulwind was an excellent example of a company taking long term responsibility for the restoration of all the land associated with a major cement manufacturing facility.

“It was entirely self motivated and has involved many of their staff and the local community and DOC. They sought scientific input at an early stage and the company now fund ongoing research to quantify their ecosystem restoration.”

The judges said that Cape Foulwind was a complex restoration project because the Holcim team had set a goal of restoring indigenous forest and wetland, similar to what existed prior to human arrival.

Finding sufficient quantities of the native trees and other plants indigenous to the area saw the establishment of a nursery which grows up to 50,000 plants on contract for Holcim and also for sale to the local community.

A Masters thesis had studied the ecological changes of restoration plantings from 3 years after planting to over 20 years and documented good progress towards creating a forest eco-system. Ongoing research on the site is being supported by a Holcim grant and the judges said benefits from this would flow to other parts of New Zealand.

“This will ensure full documentation of restoration goals, and thus beneficial environmental impacts, while making a major contribution to our understanding of the complexity and time scale of such restorations,” said Dr Williams and Mr Jones.

They said a great strength of the project was that it was entirely voluntary, motivated over twenty years ago by the company’s desire to be a good corporate citizen in an area with many important ecological features.

The Mimico Environmental Excellence Award is designed to encourage the aggregate & quarry industry to establish and implement programmes of environmental importance.

The incoming President of the Aggregate and Quarry Association, James Boyce, said the award entries are another example of an industry that is fully committed to being a responsible player in communities across the country.

“The theme of our just-concluded conference was sustainability. We do need access to rock and stone resources to keep New Zealand growing, as little can be built without it. But these awards show that we can leave land better than when quarrying began.”

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