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  ― 313 ―

Nature of the Quarrying Industry

19.93. Both ‘mining’ and ‘quarrying’ are extractive industries. The word ‘quarry’ primarily signifies surface operations, including the removal of overburden to enable the winning of the product to be quarried.

19.94. Despite the fact that its original meaning may have been restricted to subterranean excavation, ‘mining’ has become an uncertain term and its meaning takes its colour from the context in which it is used. The same product can be won by both subterranean and open-cut methods, which is true of coal, gypsum and silver and other metals. Uranium and rutile can be won by open-cut operations. The products usually quarried in Australia are limestone, granite, blue-metal, sand, clay and gravel, and, to a more limited degree, marble. ‘Mining operations’ is a very wide term and whether it is limited to subterranean methods usually depends upon the wording of the statute in which it is found. For example, in the Gold-Mining Assistance Act 1954 ‘mining’ is defined as the production of minerals from a mine or from alluvial or surface deposits. In recent judicial construction, Courts have found that the legislative intention usually has been to employ the word ‘mining’ in the sense of underground workings in the absence of some extended definition.

19.95. The point at issue in submissions made to the Committee does not, however, rest on whether the product is extracted by subterranean or surface operations or whether the operations are commonly described as ‘quarrying’ or upon the character of the product extracted or the use to which it is put. The basis of the submissions is that quarrying is an extractive industry concerned with materials naturally occurring in the earth's surface, that its mode of operations, which differs according to the product to be extracted, is nevertheless similar to operations employed in various ‘mining’ operations, that its equipment is similar in size and identical to that used in certain ‘mining’ operations, that expenditure is incurred in locating and investigating quarrying sites, in acquiring rights to quarry, and in constructing certain infrastructures to enable the quarrying operations to be carried out. All quarries are under the control of the Mines Department in the State concerned: in New South Wales, for example, they are subject to inspection under the Mines Inspection Act 1901–1968. Above all, as in the mining industry, the deposit which is the subject of quarrying operations is a wasting asset.

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