BHP environmental project ahead of schedule

BHP has announced that its Hunter River Remediation project is working ahead of schedule.

The miner stated that it three months ahead on the project, and recently passed a milestone in its rehabilitation of the Hunter River, the ABC reports.

Sheet piles forming the river wall and silt curtains have now been removed.

It says the project, forecast for completion in 2013, is now more than 90% finished.

The project itself consists of the removal and treatment of contaminated materials left behind after the closure of its Mayfield site in Newcastle.

The contaminated river sediments are located in a confined section immediately adjacent to the former Newcastle Steelworks site.

The main contaminants found in the river sediments affected by the former Newcastle Steelworks are Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).

PAHs are chemicals that are made when substances are burned.

The main PAH in the river bed is naphthalene.

BHP said there is also a small amount of metals contaminating the river.

The miner still has to cap the containment cells on Kooragang Island where the sediment is to be stored.

The site is earmarked for the construction of new coal loaders by mining magnate Nathan Tinkler.

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