Proposed Sand Mine for Freshwater

by | Mar 10, 2010 | Blog

Concrete is a vital building material which of course comes from sand. The construction industry has an insatiable appetite for sand, but existing sand mines are beginning to run out and the search is on to find new areas which will provide needed material for our future developments.

Freshwater Sand mine mapThere are three sand mines extraction operations in Cairns at Holloways, Carvonica and Yorkeys Knob, with the Carvonica site has been approved for extension. In the next couple of months the council will be considering a new proposal for sand mine development just off the Lower Freshwater road only a few hundred meters from Peace Lutheran College and Freshwater Primary school and not to mention very populated areas.

Our Mayor Val Shier and Councillor Margaret Cochrane were present at the Peace Lutheran College community event on the 11th of February with over 100 local residents expressing their concern over Freshwater sand mine development. Both ladies have noted that the proposed sand mine will most likely not be approved, however the local residents and Rob Fysh, the principal of Peace Lutheran College fear the worst.

Most of the information in assessing the risk of silica has been from the mining industry because in that area the dust exposures are higher, and they can be measured and the workforce can be monitored.

As one of the parents who have their child in Peace Luthern College, I have to agree with their concerns. After doing my research on the side affect of sand mining, I have come to some understanding how serious this issue is.

Some Facts:sand mining

  • A review by The Cancer Council Queensland of cases of lung cancer around quarries in the Redlands region found higher than average rates of cancer. A prominent cancer specialist responded by noting the harmful nature of exposure to silica dust.
  • Sand mining creates hidden dangers, with pollutants lurking in the air and drinking water.
  • Being exposed to respirable crystalline silica, a known carcinogen that can be so small, it’s invisible to the human eye.
  • The higher the cumulative dose of respirable Silica, the greater the risks of silicosis and of lung cancer.
  • These are the health issues we will be facing if the proposed mine goes ahead and of course the environmental changes that our water ways will experience.

Before this development is even lodged with the Cairns City Council we should urge a study to measure the health and environment hazards of our existing sand mine sites and the surrounding areas are showing.

So far there has been 943 submissions received, but this is not going to be enough to stop this development to go ahead!

If you wish to get participate or learn more please visit

Michael Moore’s article in on the Barron and Thomatis Delta is an interesting read.

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  1. vlasta

    Hi Regenia,

    The RSS Button is below the categories on the left hand-side.

    Thank you

  2. brooke

    I am a student of Peace Lutheran College and I am wondering how many people we would need against the sand mine, to stop it going ahead.

    • vlasta

      Hi Brooke,

      Thanks for your comment. The mine has not been approved as just yet because it has not been voted on by the council. The developer of the sand mine has asked for another extensions. The council has opened for further submissions for or against. Perhaps you can write a submission with other students from Peace Lutheran College and express your concern about the mine going ahead. When I find something new out I will follow up with another blog. Just check the blog from time to time.

      Thank you for caring
      Vlasta Eriksson

  3. Brooke

    hey um have you found any new info yet because im really concerned and if it does go ahead im moving schools so I want to have time to get a form in etc if it happens. so…….. any info?

  4. vlasta

    Hi Brooke,

    Today is the developer’s deadline to put the proposal in front of the Cairns City Council. Will know by tomorrow.
    Check this website for more information.

    • vlasta

      Hi Brooke,

      The developer got another extension. Will keep you posted.

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