Prospect Awards Finalists 2014: Excellence in Environmental Management

Six companies are in the running for this year’s Excellence in Environmental Management award.

Air Springs Supplies

Broader ranges of environmentally friendly Pronal pipe stoppers have been introduced to Australia by Air Springs Supply following their successful application by companies concerned about spills of potentially hazardous or harmful liquids.

Pronal inflatable pipe stoppers are used for maintenance, testing and emergency tasks in applications as diverse as oil and gas delivery, industrial and municipal water and waste water, and pollution prevention in mining, energy and industrial projects where sealing and testing operations need to be conducted not only with complete safety and environmental security, but also with considerable speed, to maintain flows of liquids and gases.

The stoppers can be rapidly deployed.

Environmental Fluid Systems

EFS was initially approached by FMG to solve worker health issues related to the toxic cleaning chemicals being used to wash down locomotives and rail equipment.

The team at EFS, however, went even further and implemented a change in chemical use that improved wastewater quality and water recycling.

In doing so EFS put an end to serious health risks, improved the environmental sustainability of FMG's operations and it did so at a cost saving to the business.

To solve FMG's environmental and OH&S challenges EFS substituted toxic cleaning chemicals with its proprietary quick break, non-toxic degreaser triple7 Heavy Duty. 

This bio-based, colloidal surfactant is designed for optimal wastewater quality and the lowest possible risk to human health. 

The result was immediate and dramatic: by implementing a safer chemical substitute for FMG,EFS solved worker health problems, improved oil-water separator efficiency and saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in wastewater disposal costs.

By introducing better performing and safer chemical technologies at an overall cost saving EFS said it is giving the mining industry more opportunities to make better environmental decisions.

Evolution mining 

Evolution teamed with Kings Park Botanical Gardens in Western Australia to develop a translocation and cultivation program to protect and secure the future of one of Australia's rare plants, the Eremophilia Resinosa ("E.resinosa").

The project, involving several separate translocations, is based on leading and evolving scientific discoveries and innovative horticultural practices which have improved knowledge of the biology of the species and its cultural requirements. 

As part of the environmental assessment process for the Edna May Project, an Environmental Management Plan was developed for E. resinosa in order to protect and mitigate any disturbance to the rare species during mine expansion.

Evolution said the E.resinosa Translocation Programme was one of the most successful undertaken in Western Australia due to a number of factors including to the total commitment of Edna May's historical sponsorship with continued funding over a 10 year period, their staff's interest and direct involvement in the project, the support of the Westonia Shire staff and local community and a good working relationship with the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Goyder Institute

The G-FLOWS research project, funded by the Goyder Institute, has provided innovative, key techniques to inform the accessibility and viability of South Australia's groundwater resources.

The G-FLOWS project, led by CSIRO, has developed new analysis techniques to reinterpret historical minerals exploration Airborne Electro-Magnetic (AEM) datasets. These new techniques allow the detection of groundwater resources for mining and community water supplies.

A six-step method was developed that brings together many different datasets and combines them in a structured way to build a hydrogeological framework for the detection of potential regional groundwater resources. 

The project's activity in this area is an international first and is attracting interest from other national and international agencies where exploration datasets may be a significant but undervalued resource for groundwater assessment purposes.

This approach has the potential to deliver substantial cost savings associated with the detection of regional groundwater resources, thus enabling the development of mining in arid regions where available water is a limiting factor.

Joy Global

Joy Global has introduced the P&H brand LeTourneau-Series Generation 2 wheel loader which in some cases has delivered fuel efficiency gains of up to 45 per cent less fuel consumption than comparably sized mechanical drive wheel loaders.

This in turn is helping reduce emissions and save costs for miners. 

The GEN2 technology allows the engine to run on zero fuel during the regeneration cycle, or dynamic braking, by capturing the energy generated during this cycle, storing this energy in capacitors, and utilising the flywheel effect on the engine to maintain RPM in order for functions such as hydraulic pumps and engine cooling fans to operate whilst in zero fuel mode.

Glencore – Oaky Creek mine

For the construction of a purpose built Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant, Glencore's Oaky Creek coal mine has been nominated for Excellence in Environmental Management. 

OCC required a water treatment solution to reduce the salt concentration in the mine affected water, and needed to reduce raw water consumption at the same time.

The plant has successfully met the performance specification and output, producing up to 6 ML/day of product water for use throughout the mine site.

In addition, the site has driven water usage reduction through the underground mines (Oaky No.1 and Oaky North) through the installation of solenoids and automated controls on dust suppression systems, particularly on longwall and coal transfer conveyor systems.

Raw water (treated to potable standard) is now only used for selected applications, and for human amenities (showers, drinking water, etc).

To date the water treatment plant has reduced the mine's raw water usage by more than 1 billion litres each year (over 60% reduction in raw water usage – equivalent to more than 500 Olympic swimming pools of freshwater saved annually).

It is expected that the site will achieve up to 90% reduction on raw water usage in 2014/2015.

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