Aru-Lõuna limestone quarry was opened in the 1960-s and at this moment it is the biggest limestone quarry in Estonia. Limestone from the quarry is used as raw material and aggregate for cement. The size of the land is 411.58 ha, including extraction permit area- 317.34 ha.
Aru-Lõuna limestone quarry is located in North-Estonia, West-Viru County, Andja village. Toolse river is about 500 meters west from the mining claim and Kunda river is about 300 meters from the east. Through the western border of the mine runs Kunda-Rakvere railway. The mining allotment and the mine service area is not located in a nature reserve or Natura 2000 area. There are no natural objects or cultural monuments, no limitations on the protection of cultural monuments. Nearest Natura 2000 area is 500 meters away from quarry, around Kunda river.
Quarry is located under the groundwater level, that’s why there should be waterbody after restoration. Since the quarry is not opened to the lowest point, all the resources near the border areas has not been excavated yet. At the moment, restoration can be done only in areas, where mining is finished.
North from Aru-Lõuna quarry is located old limestone quarry, where the mining activity is ceased and quarry is restored many years ago. Now, it is a very popular among fishermen, there are also a lot of waterfowls and reptiles that inhabit in the flanks of the rocks near the water.
About 12 million m3 of water is pumped out of the quarry to the Toolse river in a year. The pumped out water is clear and oxygen-rich, therefore there is also diverse fauna. Due to constantly moving shallow water, where vegetation grows, there’s the habitat for common ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula) and little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius). In the bottom of the quarry, there is a considerable size lake (about 1 m deep), which is a stop for migratory birds. This stop is also found by white-tailed eagles (Haliaeëtus albicilla). Also there are old sifting heaps, where sand martins (Riparia riparia) build their nests.
In a quarry territory, there are also a lot of rabbits, foxes, it’s often seen lynx and traces of bears, elks and wild boars. There are counted over 250 different species of vascular plants during flora inventory. Among others there are also some protected and endangered plant species like military orchid (Orchis militaris), early march-orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnate), board-leaved helleborine (Epipactis helleborine), marsh helleborine (Epipactis palustris) and bristly bellflower (Campanula cervicaria).
Ongoing nature projects:
- Biota inventory
- Bird Life project about sand martins