From Bare Rock to Verdant Eco-park: A Biodiversity Success Story at Asia Cement’s Hualien Quarry

London, 27 January 2020 - Asia Cement’s Hualien Quarry in Taiwan has set new standards in revegetation and reforestation, as well as implementing water and soil conservation measures, in what has proven to be a highly successful and globally-recognised project to conserve the local environment.

The Hualien Cement Plant, owned and operated by Asia Cement Corporation, constructed in 1973, is supplied with limestone by the 400 hectare Sin-Chen-San quarry. In line with the company’s motto of “harmonious co-existence of industrial development and environmental protection”, the quarry has been continuously restored and revegetated since the 1980s, particularly after the establishment of the neighbouring Taroko National Park in 1986.

The Hualien quarry’s replanted area now covers 10,000m2 and is home to over 400 plant species native to Taiwan. Planted trees include varieties such as the Taiwan Acacia, Formosa Sweet Gum and the Taiwan Alder.  The area is zoned into different areas and concepts, including spaces for ferns, herbs, fruit trees and butterfly ecology.

Hualien was quarried using the inner-bench mining technique (see header image), meaning that the quarry is in concave terrain, providing a large sink, temporarily storing rainfall, which can slowly permeate downwards. This has the dual effect of improving water retention and preventing the village below from flooding.

 Hualien Trees

The project was carried out in cooperation with the ROC Society of Environmental Engineering and the ROC Association of Ecological Protection, who provided expertise and management technology for the large-scale cultivation and plantation of tree saplings. New technologies were used, including digging trenches filled with new topsoil on each bench and techniques minimising root disturbance to allow rapid growth of new plantings and faster overall revegetation.

Due to the tropical climate, after just 5 years, tree growth can reach up to 8 metres, allowing wildlife to return and improve the quarry’s visual appearance. In addition, revegetating the landscape improves slope stability; Hualien has withstood severe typhoon rainfall as well as a magnitude 7 earthquake in February 2018.

With regards to biodiversity, the butterfly conservation park at Hualien has also been a great success; over 35 species of butterfly, including the golden birdwing (Triodes abacus), the great orange-tip (Hebomoia glaucippe) and the paper kite (Idea leuconoe), have made their home in the plantation.

Hualien Butterflies

The site is open for visitors, providing people with a place to learn about nature, conduct research and relax.

Hualien’s Sin-Chen-San quarry has received numerous awards and global recognition:

  1. It was the only limestone quarry out of 18 case studies chosen for the 2011 Australian Government’s “Guide to Leading Practice in Sustainable Development in Mining”
  2. Asia Cement won the Green Leadership Award for its cement plant and mining area sustainable green action project at the 2018 Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards.
  3. Asia Cement won the Green Leadership Award for the 2nd time at the 2019 Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards, for its Eco-Environment Education project, which provides education initiatives and free public visits at the Hualien Quarry.
  4. The Hualien revegetation project has been awarded a medal by the Chinese Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers and has been cited multiple times as a world-class model quarry.


In order for our members to learn about world class best practice on quarry rehabilitation, the WCA is hosting a members-only forum at Hualien Quarry, Taiwan on March 17-19, 2020. During this forum, members will have the opportunity to visit Hualien, take part in a best-practice and knowledge sharing session, hear from experts on revegetation and rehabilitation in mined areas, and learn from industry leaders on the topic of smart quarries. Please visit our Events page for more information.