Coal mine looks to green solution to reduce dust

A Rio Tinto coal mine is releasing seeds over its operations to reduce dust.

More than 25 tonnes of seed have been airdropped over Coal & Allied's mines, according to the Newcastle Herald.

The seeds are reportedly a mix of grasses and legumes, with 12 tonnes released over the Mount Thorley Warkworth mine and around 15 tonnes over the Hunter Valley last month.

The seeds provide plant cover that holds overburden and spoil together, reducing the levels of dust emanating from uncovered soil.

It comes only days after it was announced that the Mt Thorley Warkworth mine is facing charges relating to dust issues.

The Land and Environment Court has already begun prosecution proceedings against the mine.

According to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure the miner failed to comply with a number of conditions relating to minimising dust in September last year.

Rio stated that "air quality across the Hunter Valley was affected by dry and windy weather conditions at this time and Mt Thorley Warkworth mine took a range of steps to minimise dust, including shutting down equipment and increased use of water sprays".

Since the initial event it has implemented a number of initiatives to improve noise and dust management such as noise attenuation of its mining fleet, operating continuous noise monitors, dust alarms around its coal hoppers, and upgrading its water fleet.

It is one of a number of Hunter Valley mines looking at innovative environmental management on site.

GlencoreXstrata's underground Bulga mine worked with local farmers to establish the Atulya Olive Grove above the operation.

“So while our miners are producing coal underground, olive grower Andrew Waite is busy producing olives above it,” the campaign states.

Ralph Northey, Glencore Xstrata’s environment and community manager at Bulga Coal Complex said it was important to show how industry could work with farmers.

“It has been great having Andrew bring his expertise to Atulya,” Northey said.

“We believe in maintaining a sustainable community with a variety of industries in the area. It’s a good example of mining agriculture working together.”


Image: The Newcastle Herald

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