Approvals Overview for quarries

By on October 8, 2020

KATHY MAC INNES, Associate Director for Ricardo Energy, Environment and Planning provides an overview on the approvals process for quarries.

The changes to requirements for compliance and approvals for quarries has accelerated in recent years such that it seems that the way a site is operated is now everybody’s business. Dealing with multiple regulators, a broader range of issues and greater technical complexity draws heavily on operators’ time and their ability to continually adjust operations accordingly. Keeping up to date with requirements and changes in regulator and community expectations can be made easier by engaging a third-party consultant to advise and assist the operator. Ricardo Energy Environment and Planning (Ricardo) is actively involved in this space.

The founders of Victoria’s Ricardo team have extensive experience in approvals based on over 25 years consulting experience. With core expertise of engineering, environment and planning the founding members established PLC Consulting in 2016. After growing to twenty staff PLC Consulting was purchased by the UK-based Ricardo Australia in June 2019. Since then our Melbourne Office has continued to grow and now includes staff in NSW and QLD. Ricardo has 21 offices and 3,000 staff worldwide.

SITE PHOTO: Initial site meeting at Axedale.


Our approvals business has grown on the back of increased regulator expectations and a changing approval process. Ricardo has developed a series of tools to streamline the risk assessment process which is at the core of what ERR term Modern Work Plans.

The engineering and environmental staff have a strong background in the waste industry which share many sensitive community touchpoints with quarries (trucks, dust, noise, water, groundwater, contamination). A sidestep to the extractive industry was therefore a logical step.

A key asset is our Planners who allow us to undertake the whole approvals process, including planning approval, from the Initial Site Meeting to the finalisation of the Work Authority.

Work Plans require a multidisciplinary approach, and those who prepare them need to have an understanding of the technical aspects of each and the guidelines and legislation that relate to each aspect. If there are any skillsets Ricardo does not have in-house, we have a network of other consultancies who can provide the required skillsets. Ricardo will project manage their engagement and ensure the deliverable dovetails with other supporting studies.



Other government agencies are increasing their level of oversight of quarry operations. The agencies commonly act independently and are not always aware of the requirements of other agencies. This can lead to situations where one agency will want something that conflicts with the requirements of another.

Ricardo closely monitors changes in legislation and regulator expectations. Ricardo offers advisory and advocacy services to assist quarry managers navigating the compliance pathway.

“Ricardo has provided consultancy services on seven of our sites in the last few years including preparing Work Plan Variations, Planning approvals, Rehabilitation planning and Risk Assessments. Their skillsets and experience are well suited to this work. We have been happy with their responsiveness and willingness to advocate on our behalf and recommend their services.

They offer a very professional service with timely support. I could not recommend them more highly and I expect that we will continue to work closely for many years to come.”

Key Staff

Kathy Mac Innes (Associate Director)

Kathy is a Hydrogeologist with over twenty years’ experience in consulting and government organisations. Her qualifications provide a diverse mix of complementary skills that are well suited to consulting work encompassing data management and people management skills together with the base technical qualification in geology.

Kathy worked at many waste and quarry sites in Victoria and South Australia and has a thorough understanding of the current Victorian legislative framework and reporting and approvals processes. Her experience is multi-disciplinary and includes siting studies, risk assessments, Works Approval applications, Work Authority approvals, Planning Permit applications, geological and hydrogeological investigations, environmental monitoring and reporting, financial assurance calculation, monitoring program development and EPA Auditor liaison.

Will Nunn (Associate)

Will is an experienced geologist, with over 11 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry.

With a double bachelor’s degree in Science (Geology/Earth Science) & Commerce (Finance) from the University ofMelbourne, Will takes pride in providing practical well-thought out solutions to meet the needs of his clients. Will’s continued professional development has seen him develop a passion for improving processes and efficiency through the adoption of the latest technology in the environmental sector.

Will has extensive experience in Environmental Management & Compliance, Environmental Approvals, Environmental Site Investigations, Environmental Risk Management, Remediation and Project Management. Will has a detailed understanding of the environmental legislative framework at a national and state level, with professional experience across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.

Deane Ellwood (Managing Director)

Deane holds dual qualifications in Engineering and Commerce which has led to commercially focused solutions in wide ranging multi-disciplinary projects across the Infrastructure and Environment sector.

Deane has broad business and project expertise including Design and Construct Tenders, Alliance Contracting, PPP, Business Management, Financial Analysis, and Project Management. Deane’s international experience spans Australia, Asia, India and the Middle East.

Deane has also held key commercial roles on major infrastructure projects in Victoria including, DJV Board Member on the East West Link, ALT member of Grade Separation Alliance contracts and Peer Review on the Victorian Desalination plant.

SITE PHOTO: Yannathan West Pit

Mobile: +61 (0)437 401 554 (Kathy) or Office: +61 3 9978 7823
Website: |

Sponsored Ads