Our control techniques, processes and systems are world class
Air quality and dust remains one of the key environmental concerns for our local community members, particularly those living in portside suburbs. Our primary dust management control is our Intelligent Dust Management System, which continually assesses stockpile moisture levels and activates stockyard water sprays to manage the potential for dust lift-off. Dust management is considered throughout Port Waratah’s network of infrastructure, incorporating soft-flow chutes, conveyor belt cleaning systems and enclosed facilities wherever possible. Other dust management practices include the use of mobile spray systems, manual hosing or spraying of coal, operation of mobile water carts and revegetating or sealing open areas.
Port Waratah routinely reviews the data collected by the Newcastle Local Air Quality Monitoring Network to understand Newcastle’s seasonal air quality performance. This information is shared throughout the business and is taken into consideration during operational planning.
Seasonal air quality monitoring reports for 2020, which are collated by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, showed that air quality results remained within national benchmarks and were recorded in the good to fair categories for the majority of the year, despite extensive bushfires greatly impacting on air quality in the Newcastle region during the 2019/20 summer.
We recorded one licence non-compliance attributed to excessive dust generation during shiploading operations at the Kooragang Terminal in 2020. In response, we suspended shiploading activities and the conveyor and chute sprays were inspected. Repairs were subsequently undertaken, and the remainder of the vessel’s cargo was loaded at a reduced load rate to manage risk of further dust generation.
During 2020, a detailed review of the dust management infrastructure and operational processes within the coal transfer and stockyard was undertaken and led to improvements in operational and maintenance regimes.
New Dust Management Technology
Following completion of a successful trial in 2020, our Intelligent Dust Management System (IDMS) will be further enhanced with upgraded Real-Time Dust Monitors (RTDMs) and extended to within the train unloading stations. The RTDMs will provide improved early detection capability by measuring dust concentrations at the moment coal arrives. In the event that elevated dust concentrations are experienced, this new technology will enable quick response managing the specific cargo as it is transferred to the stockpile.