The NSW Minerals Council has welcomed the new dust Pollution Reduction Programs announced in Hunter Valley by NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker.
Mining operations are using research funded by the Australian Coal Association Research Program and conducting trials at a range of sites to look for better ways to manage dust on haul roads and from overburden.
Mining operations in the Upper Hunter are collaborating through the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue to develop a tool that will look at daily weather forecasts to accordingly plan on-site operations.
NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said the dust Pollution Reduction Programs represent an important partnership between the mining industry and the NSW Government to tackle the issue of air quality.
“NSW Mining has been very active in monitoring and mitigating potential dust pollution from mining operations. The industry is pleased to stand by the NSW Government in its efforts to address this challenge,” he said.
Galilee added the industry has been working with the Environment Protection Authority as part of their Dust Stop Program, which started at the end of 2010.
“Last year all coal mining operations in NSW completed best practice reviews of their sites to determine where there is still room for improvement of dust management techniques,” he said.
Mine sites manage dust emission through a combination of mine planning, reducing disturbed areas, minimising road haul distances and traffic, use of enclosed conveyors and carrying out continuous rehabilitation.
They also use techniques like water sprays on stockpiles and dust watering carts on unpaved roads. Extensive monitoring programs at every mining operation measure adherence to air quality standards and recognises areas for improvements in dust management.
“It’s important to note that the NSW Government’s State of the Environment Report 2012 highlights that there are a number of contributors to air quality, including wood heaters, bushfires and dust storms. All industries need to take responsibility to address this important issue,” Galilee said.