Given our proximity to the city of Mount Isa, we take our environmental performance very seriously. We are proactive in monitoring and managing emissions generated by our operations that can impact on air quality and affect our community, like sulphur dioxide, dust and other particulates.
Over the long history of our operations, air quality standards are one of the influences that have changed the most. The way we do business evolves as new technologies and scientific research becomes available, and these advancements allow us to review engineering approaches, operating procedures and monitoring programs to continually reduce emissions.
In December 2011 Mount Isa Mines was granted an Environmental Authority (EA) by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), under the state’s Environmental Protection Act1994. Prior to this, Mount Isa Mines was managed under the Mount Isa Mines Limited Agreement Act issued by the Queensland Government in 1985.
The Copper Smelter Extension Project required revision of our environmental limits under our EA. Consistent with these revisions, we are committed to maintaining and demonstrating ongoing improvements in our performance.
Air quality monitoring
Mount Isa has one of the most intensive air quality monitoring networks of any city in Australia, with more than 30 monitoring units currently located across the city. This network was reviewed and updated in 2014 to ensure we continue to capture the most comprehensive and accurate data for air quality management in our community.
Our Air Quality Control (AQC) uses air quality data to monitor sulphur dioxide emissions and observe emerging weather patterns. By monitoring and responding to real-time air quality data and forecasted weather conditions, AQC works proactively and reactively to minimise the impact of emissions and ensure compliance with our regulatory limits.
Air quality data from Mount Isa’s air quality monitoring network is automatically and continuously uploaded to DEHP for analysis. As the regulator of our environmental performance, DEHP with the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation carefully scrutinises our results and works closely with our Environment team to fine-tune our response actions and ensure our air quality management processes continue to improve.
Currently, sulphur dioxide and metal-in-air particulates up to 10 micrometres (one tenth of a millimetre) in size are monitored against our approved limits.
Significantly, as of December 2013 we comply with the regulatory standards set under the EA for lead-in-air emissions and were compliant with the hourly 570ug/m³ conditions stipulated for sulphur dioxide 98 per cent of the time.
If you have any questions or concerns about emissions from our operations, contact our Community Feedback Hotline on 1800 982 982.