Quarrying & Mining Magazine

Demand Driven

AQA Chair comment from Jayden Ellis as published in the association’s news section in the October-November issue of Q&M magazine.

The pre-Election period is full with all the usual noise of campaigns ramping up.

So it’s encouraging to see, no matter which way it goes, quarry materials are going to be in demand. We, as a sector, are not impervious to political and economic cycles, but governments of all persuasions always need to roll out roads and other infrastructure – and all have failed to do enough of that for a generation or more.

The necessary catchup will apply whatever parties are in office. The key thing for us, as our CEO Wayne Scott observes, is getting the policy settings right. Wayne watches Wellington much more closely than most of us, and his pick is a fair amount of policy ‘business as usual,’ despite some of the rhetoric.

Truth is, we do need reforms to resource management law that has been in place – and getting progressively more cumbersome – since I was barely out of shorts. As a sector, we just want to be able to source material and deliver it for Kiwis in a way that is sensible and sustainable to our communities, , environment and businesses.

One thing is clear, quarry by quarry, we do need to keep up our messaging, especially amid rising environmental expectations. At a recent AQA board meeting we discussed recycling, which many of us are working to increase.

There needs to be context. Quarries endeavour to do their best, but you need a range of factors to make recycling work, including a good volume of source material.

Recycling is not the only opportunity for us to lift our environmental contribution. It’s good to hear consideration is being given to including things like wetlands, rather than just planting trees, as ways to soak up carbon dioxide.

Quarries develop a lot of wetlands to help with a range of outcomes, and we should not be overlooked as officials devise ways to widen the way we work towards our carbon reduction goals.

On the technical front, we are grinding our way towards a conclusion of the elongated process to get new M04 specs. There are remaining concerns about the cost of testing and accepted durability of testing results, but our technical committee and adviser Mike Chilton are working through these. They’ve done some great work on our behalf of us all and have taken us to the home straight.

Speaking of great work, a shout out to retiring AQA board member and former chair Brian Roche.

I worked closely with Brian as his deputy during his three years as chair and learned a lot. Brian was a top wrestler in his day and it set him up well for how he engaged on the issues, no matter how big. He’s entirely justified in taking some pride in the progress we’ve made in our sector over the decade plus he served on the AQA board.

We all need to take some pride in what we do and communicate it as well.

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