Industry group chalks up half century
The Aggregate & Quarry Association (AQA) is celebrating its 50th anniversary.“It’s a milestone and demonstrates the stability of the industry and its importance for New Zealand,” says AQA CEO Wayne Scott.
The Association had its beginnings in 1969 as a spin off of what is now Civil Contractors New Zealand when a small group of men saw a need for a dedicated group to represent the concerns of the quarrying and aggregate industry. Today the AQA represents members on all manner of industry, government, health and safety, technical and other issues.
“Funded by its members, the AQA has a mandate to increase understanding of the need for aggregates by New Zealanders, support its members on planning and regulatory issues, improve our industry and users’ technical knowledge of aggregates and assist in developing a highly-skilled workforce within a safe and sustainable work environment,” explains Wayne.
The AQA, in partnership with the Institute of Quarrying New Zealand, holds an annual conference called QuarryNZ, which will be next held at Westpac Stadium in Wellington July 2020. The conference includes the annual industry awards – the MIMICO environment and community award and the Institute of Quarrying NZ awards – to mark the industry’s achievements.
The 50th anniversary celebrations included a gala dinner with guest speaker Jim O’Brien, convenor of the Global Aggregates Information Network, and announcement of the winners of a competition called Rock Our Future, where students were tasked with developing a process for producing aggregate in a quarry without using fossil fuels.
Wayne stresses the importance of the industry as New Zealand grows and develops with AQA members producing in excess of an estimated 45 million tonnes of aggregate, limestone and allied products each year.
“That’s about 9-10 tonnes – or a truckload – for every New Zealander. “Our members produce the aggregates which form the foundation and walls of almost every building across our nation as well most of our roads.
“Quarries also supply allied raw materials such as limestone which help keep our farms productive,” says Wayne stating that in terms of revenue the quarrying industry produces 500 times that of farming on the same area of land.
Current challenges include a lack of planning for infrastructure, development and housing in New Zealand, including aggregate supply, and a lack of protection of our precious aggregate resources. The AQA is also placing a focus on training, to attract the next generation to the industry, and health and safety.
MITO is the industry training body and MinEx is the National Health and Safety Council for the New Zealand Mining and Quarry Industry. “The AQA strongly supports the new health and safety requirements being introduced by the Government,” says Wayne. “Our industry wants to see its workers return home safely and healthy every day.”
Wayne says that the goal of the AQA is to continue to build on the legacy of its past 50 years and to keep creating an enduring and productive industry which provides for New Zealand communities responsibly. “Because we believe that sourcing aggregate locally, safely, at reasonable cost and in environmentally sustainable ways is fundamental to New Zealand’s future.”
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