Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

22,000 tonnes of dust stopped

Media release: 3 August 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Dust Stop Pollution Reduction Program has reduced dust emissions by 22,000 tonnes a year or 19%, and efforts to further reduce dust are continuing.

EPA Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said the reduced dust levels will benefit the health of the community and environment.

“The program has been a huge success; we have seen a steady decrease in dust from coal mines since the program commenced in 2012,” he said.

“The management practices developed during Dust Stop are now part of standard operations of each mine.”

The Dust Stop program required all NSW open cut coal mines to implement best practice measures to significantly reduce their dust emissions. This included achieving 80% or more control of wheel generated dust on their haul roads which is the biggest source of fine dust particles on most mine sites.

As part of the program, the EPA also required mines to investigate best practice controls for loading and dumping operations, modify their mining operations during adverse weather and to stabilise exposed areas to reduce dust from wind erosion.

Mr Gifford said all mines are meeting the requirements of the program, but this isn’t where the EPA’s work to reduce dust from mines stops.

“We understand that more work has to be done to reduce dust from mines.

“The EPA in partnership with the Office of Environment and Heritage, is about to trial a dust risk forecasting system in the Upper Hunter.  This system could be used to provide early warning to allow mines to reduce particle emissions even more on days when high dust risk is forecast.”

Chair of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee and Newcastle Community Consultative Committee on the Environment John Tate said the results from Dust Stop program were very positive.

“We were able to hear about the results of the program at recent committee meetings and particularly on the work being completed to stabilise exposed areas at mines, which is a key area of concern for dust. 

“There is a wealth of information available to the public now about air quality in the region and I encourage the community to look at the EPA’s website, sign up to air quality alerts and generally get involved in discussions about our local air quality. Talking about air quality is the best way to increase understanding.”

The Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee and Newcastle Community Consultative Committee on the Environment met last week. The groups include representatives from the local community, industry and councils, as well as from NSW Health and the Department of Planning and Environment.

Newsletters analysing the season’s air quality are published after each meeting along with the meeting minutes. The latest newsletters which show that air quality was generally good in autumn were released today on the EPA’s website. http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/mediainformation/epacomcmtee.htm

The EPA’s website has more information on Dust Stop here: www.epa.nsw.gov.au/air/coalminingNSW.htm
Copies of mine licences are also available on the EPA website here: www.epa.nsw.gov.au/prpoeoapp/.

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 03 August 2017