Melancthon Mega Quarry Proposal (Withdrawn)



In 2011 the Highland Companies, a subsidiary of U.S. hedge fund Baupost Group, applied to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for a Class "A" licence to remove more than 20,000 tonnes of aggregate annually from a pit or a quarry (EBR #011-2864) under the Aggregate Resources Act.   At the same time the company applied to the Township of Melancthon for official plan and zoning by-law amendments.


The quarry would have been:

- the largest quarry in Canada and second largest in North America

- expecting to extract one billion tonnes of amabel dolostone (limestone)2 with six billion tonnes in reserves

- 2,316 acres consisting of 4 extraction areas and 1 central processing area

- 237 feet deep, below the water table

- responsible for management of 600 million litres of water per day in perpetuity (capacity of the Collingwood water tower is 2.3 million litres)

- expecting to blast explosives 6 days per week (video)

- expecting to run 7,200 truck trips in/out per day (2-3 trucks per minute)


The company also investigated reviving rail service to the area.





There was strong opposition to the proposal starting with local farmers and joined by members from neighbouring communities, First Nations, environmentalists, artists, and the local food movement.  The plateau of prime farmland, of which the mega quarry site proposal was central, sources a significant amount of Toronto’s potatoes and other vegetables.  The proposal literally sparked a fight between two necessary industries:  food vs aggregate.


Additionally, Opponents noted that the site properties were adjacent to the Niagara Escarpment and part of the headwaters for five major rivers (Grand, Beaver, Pine, Nottawasaga, Saugeen) that flow to Lake Erie, Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay.  The proposal was a possible risk of contamination to a source water area for one million people downstream.


Broad concerns were:  loss of water quality, loss of prime farmland, food security, community impact, health impact, loss of long-term jobs, blasting impact (flyrock, accidents), explosives transportation and storage, additional heavy traffic, dust, loss of air quality, noise pollution, Niagara Escarpment impact, environmental impact, impact on fish, potential to take water, water ownership, potential to export, rehabilitation and site after-use.



The above mock up was used in the fight against the mega-quarry proposal.


Key Articles and Links 


Excellent Overviews


Sep-09  In the Hills

High Stakes in the High Country (Editorial)

Nov-09 Torontoist

Forget Paving Paradise, Let’s Just Dig a Giant Hole in It

Mar-11 Highland Companies

Video – Proposed Melancthon Quarry

Apr-11  Dyson Forbes

Video – PitStop

May-11 Wayne Roberts

NOW – Open-pit politics

May-11 Kathryn Heming & Andrew Sheppard

Youtube Video / Vimeo Video

Jun-11  In the Hills

Birth of a Protest - Melancthon Mega Quarry by the Numbers by Tim Shuff


What is Mega?

Aug-11 ON Nature Magazine

The Big Pit

Sep-11 Jason van Bruggen

Video – Water

Oct. 16, 2011 Foodstock

Foodstock draws thousands against mega quarry by Emily Burke (article)

Oct-11 Wellington Water Watchers

Melancthon Update – letter from Cam MacKinnon, CAUSE

Nov-11 Toronto Sun

Melancthon mega quarry should concern everyone

Jan-12 Toronto Star

Anatomy of a quarry fight

Feb-12 Highland Companies

Presentation to Melancthon Council

Jul-12 Hobo Wally

Video – “King of the Hole”

Aug-12 Toronto Life

How a small group of farmers and wealthy weekenders made the Melancthon mega-quarry protest a cause célèbre        (old link)

Oct. 21, 2012 Soupstock

Video – Soupstock Call to Action (youtube)


Press Release (.pdf) – Highland Companies withdraws aggregate application

Nov. 23, 2012 Toronto Star

Victory over ‘mega quarry’ bittersweet for the farmers of Melancthon


The Battle Shifts Gear by Tim Shuff


Highland Companies sells to Bonnefield ( – Wall Street Journal, Orangeville Banner


Carl Cosack by Tim Shuff


Dufferin’s New Landlord (Bonnefield) by Tim Shuff




Video File Location


Mar-11 Highland Companies

Video – Proposed Melancthon Quarry

2011 dailymotion / David Waters

Video – David Waters, Stop the Melancthon Mega Quarry

April 25, 2011  Dyson Forbes

Video – PitStop

May-11 Kathryn Heming & Andrew Sheppard

Youtube Video / Vimeo Video

July 15, 2011 Canadian Chefs Congress

Video – Stop the Mega Quarry – Michael Stadtländer on the loss of vital farmland / Foodstock

July 19, 2011 David Waters

Video – David Waters, Stop the Melanchton {sic} Mega Quarry – My Story

Sep-11 BillStMaxx

Video - The Protest Against the Mega Quarry Part 1

Sep-11 BillStMaxx

Video – The Protest Against the Mega Quarry Part 2

Sep-11 Jason van Bruggen

Video – Water

Oct. 10, 2011 CBC

Video – The National Covers the Mega Quarry & Foodstock

Oct. 28, 2011 The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Video – Mega Quarry, Mega Worry (42 mins)


Video – Hellmans – Buy Canadian Local Food Commercial

Jul-12 Hobo Wally

Video – “King of the Hole”

2012-Oct-21 Soupstock

Video – Soupstock Call to Action (youtube)

Nov-16 Beth Brass

Video – Site 41, Inspiration and Action



For more information:


Mega Quarry News History


AO Aggregates News Home Page


List of Ontario’s Issues


What Can I Do?




Disclaimer: This information has been compiled through private amateur research for the purpose of allowing the reader to make an informed and educated decision.  However, while the information is believed to be reliable, accuracy cannot be guaranteed.










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Hill & Knowlton worked on the Highland Companies public relations campaigns.  The company is famous for representing tobacco companies and for modern atrocity propaganda.  (Nayirah testimony)