Tallya Quarry: Caring for biodiversity

Colas Északkő, a local Colas subsidiary in Hungary specializing in the production of aggregates, operates a dozen quarries while fully respecting the surrounding environment on sites that are protected by the European Union and UNESCO. The region is home to a precious material: a hard volcanic rock, particularly well-suited for use in both pavement and ballast.

From extraction to crushing and quality testing, Colas employees have been extracting this rock for more than 30 years, in strict compliance with best environmental practices. The Tallya quarry in northeast Hungary illustrates the extent to which production sites are inherently linked to their environment.

Continuous improvement approach

Tallya has been the focus of major upgrading projects: automation of truck and railcar loading with two conveyors, reorganization of the crushing zones and storage areas, etc. These investments not only improve production capacity and quality, the also further reduce the quarry's environmental impact (dust, noise, visual impact), as well as health and safety risks in the workplace. For instance, compressed air has replaced traditional watering to reduce dust, and noise barriers have been installed around the screen, a giant sieve that sorts aggregates by size.  Tallya is also equipped with rail tracks: the teams deliver the materials directly from the crushing area by rail, which helps limit greenhouse gas emissions.  

Protected emblematic species

The Tallya quarry has made environmental protection its priority. The site is home to a very important resident: the eagle owl, a protected species that has only about 100 pairs in Hungary. Some of them have chosen the quarry walls to nest and incubate their eggs. Colas Északkő regularly consults ornithologists and experts on this bird, making it possible to keep operating the quarry and cohabit with the surrounding fauna. In spring, the pellets that the protected owl spits out are studied to check the quality of its food. It was decided to prohibit blasting between March and June so as not to disturb nesting, and the vibrations from blasts were attenuated. A landscape rehabilitation project was even interrupted when specialists realized that the great horned owl particularly liked to rest on slopes cut by man! For Colas, playing a role in preserving the planet starts with respecting the environment in its production sites on a daily basis.