Quarrying Basics

The what, how and why of quarrying in Australia

What is Quarrying

Quarrying is quite simply the extraction of natural resources from the earth, usually from some form of surface working or quarry site.

Quarries produce a range of useful materials, including limestone, dimension stone and rock. In Australia, the most common materials extracted are construction aggregates such as crushed rock, sand or gravel. These abundant yet essential raw materials are the foundation of our homes, schools, hospitals, roads and almost all aspects of the built environment that we depend on.

People have relied on quarry materials for thousands of years because of their strength, durability and dependability, and while the technology and processes have improved, these materials are as important to modern society today as they have ever been.


How Does Quarrying Occur?

Put simply, a pit is dug to access the deposit. Once a vertical face of rock is exposed, large chunks are dislodged from the new quarry's walls, usually through controlled blasting.

This rock is then crushed, impurities are removed and the resulting aggregate is graded by size before being stockpiled. The aggregates are then transported by road, rail or sea for use in civil construction and the production of concrete.

Sand is another important ingredient of concrete. It is quarried simply by removal from an open pit with an excavator. It is then screened and washed before being transported for use.

Why Do We Need Quarrying?

To build our homes, workplaces, public buildings and roads we need stone, gravel and sand. Australian quarries are vital to our building and construction industries and generate over $200 billion in revenue each year and directly employ more than 1 million Australians. The building and construction industry demands more than 200 million tonnes of construction aggregates each year.

As well as providing these essential materials, quarries stimulate local communities through investment and by providing jobs. In fact, the quarry industry creates over 10,000 jobs directly and supports another 80,000 indirectly, often in rural and regional locations.

Quarrying is vital to the production of concrete – Australia’s most used building material.

 

Back to Quarry Overview

Learn More About

HOW A QUARRY WORKS

How does a quarry produce these
important materials? Here’s a simple
overview.

FIND OUT MORE

THE ECONOMICS OF QUARRYING

Australia’s quarries benefit their local
community, other Australian industries
and our nation as a whole. Learn how
the quarry industry helps Australia work.

FIND OUT MORE

LIFE AFTER QUARRYING

What happens to quarries at the end of
their working life? Rehabilitation gives
former quarries a new lease on life.

FIND OUT MORE

FURTHER READING

Brochure & Factsheets

Want to know more about quarrying in Australia? Download the brochure and factsheets for further information.

Infographic

Learn how Australian quarries provide the country with some of its most important raw ingredients: stone, gravel and sand.