APPROVAL of the new conditions for BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Port Operations under Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act is in the final stage in a review process to pave the way for proposed new dust targets.
The milestone involved an 18 month review procedure which resulted in a number of dust targets agreed to by both Government and the local community.
As part of BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s growth plans, a social impact assessment process was undertaken and dust was identified as a priority for residents in the West End of Port Hedland.
To gain more information and better understand the issue, Coakes Consulting was engaged to undertake focus group sessions, personal interviews and telephone surveys.
As a result of community feedback, new ideas were incorporated into BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s growth plans and revisions made to the Dust Management Program, which also includes a water use efficiency management plan.
“Dust management starts at the mine. Delivering ore to port on specification is the first critical stage in port dust management control. A lot of effort has gone into raising the profile of ore moisture conditioning at mines,” said Gavin Price, Manager of Environmental and Sustainable Development.
“It’s recognised for us to be successful in meeting our revised targets we must have a fully integrated dust management system linked to our product quality control specifications. Products being delivered from mine to port on moisture specification also assist in reducing the amount of water needed for dust reduction at the port.”
One of the dust initiatives requested by the community and now incorporated into the BHP Billiton Iron Ore Dust Management Plan is to undertake a review of the ambient dust monitoring program in the community.
To help satisfy requirements with this review process, the Company has invited representatives of the Community Consultative Group to join a team to undertake a complete review of the monitoring program.
As part of this review BHP Billiton Iron Ore will link its monitoring to a web-based system to enable the community to monitor the data. This revised monitoring network is planned to be operational this calendar year.
“There has been a high level of work carried out on the impact of dust on residents and businesses in the West End of Port Hedland. Community feedback has driven a number of actions by BHP Billiton Iron Ore, which is currently being worked on,” noted Sherie Coakes, Coakes Consulting.
“We’re listening to our community, which has provided continual comment on proposed dust reduction measures and other improvement initiatives outside our gate,” added Kim Pervan, Principal, Communications and Community Relations.
*This article was first published in Oresome (June 2007 Volume 014) — an internal publication published by BHP Billiton Iron Ore.