2016 was a fantastic year for Pacific Environment’s involvement in the Mining sector. Here is an update of some of our key projects and studies.
We would also like to take this opportunity to say that we look forward to working with you in 2017!
The Pacific Environment Team
Validated air quality model for the Upper Hunter NSW
In March 2016 the NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) published the results of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Particle Model completed by PE.
The study included modelling of primary particle emissions from all sectors included in the Air Emissions Inventory for the Greater Metropolitan Region in NSW (GMR Inventory), including the mining industry, and determining their contribution to annual average particulate matter (PM) concentrations in Singleton and Muswellbrook.
As shown in results from Upper Hunter Air Quality Particle Model, generally, the model over predicts close to mining and under predicts further from mining.
The coal-mine emission inventories in the Upper Hunter Air Quality Particle Model applied PM emission factors sourced from the United States, which are typically more than three decades old. During this period there have been substantial changes to open-cut mining methods, equipment types and sizes, control methods employed, and measurement techniques.
A recent PE project sponsored by the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) has now derived Australian-specific PM10 emission factors for the main coal-mining sources identified in the GMR inventory.
In December 2016, PE was awarded an additional ACARP grant to incorporate these Australian-specific emission factors and controls into the Upper Hunter Air Quality Particle Model. The study objective is to determine if the new emission factors improve the model performance.
This outcomes of the study will then inform the proposed adoption of these new emission factors for use in Australia. In addition to validating new emission factors, the project will deliver an updated, validated Upper Hunter PM model that can be used for multiple future purposes including emission scenario and environmental impact assessments.
The ACARP report will be available late 2017. If you are interested in being advised when the report is published please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
First EnviroSuite Solution for Mining in South Australia
Pacific Environment is implementing an EnviroSuite solution for a mining operation in South Australia. EnviroSuite will be used for proactive dust management based on real-time monitoring.
The real-time dust monitoring solution combines low cost dust sensors with a site radio communications solution to overcome site 3G black spot challenges and will be installed in coming months.
Pacific Environment is actively working to improve sensor functionality and real-time communications for low cost monitoring options to provide better real-time monitoring coverage solutions than what is economically feasible to achieve with traditional monitoring technology.
Good coverage is essential for dust monitoring applications for proactive management which when done right can save costs on targeted mitigation measures and optimise operations by reducing shut down requirements.
Western Australia Regional Air Quality Model
Pacific Environment have been engaged to update a regional air quality model in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The purpose of this update is to gain a clearer understanding of specific emission sources and their corresponding impact on sensitive receptors in the region so that appropriate dust abatement measures can be incorporated.
One of the critical components of this study was to undertake source specific emission testing to ensure that the inputs to the dispersion model are valid. Pacific Environment completed an extensive field survey in December 2016 whereby numerous sources within the operational area were sampled.
The field survey also extended to determining that the control factors used in the NPI to determine emission reductions are not appropriate, specifically those related to watering.
This not only has major implications for emission estimation and dispersion modelling but also for the application of appropriate controls. Underestimating the potential impact of specific sources within a facility can result in downplaying their impact on sensitive receptors or worse, by applying an incorrect reduction factor, a facility can believe that they can easily reduce their impact.
This highlights the importance of obtaining site specific emission estimates and ensuring that the inputs to a dispersion model are as accurate as possible.
Pacific Environment continues to provide acoustic consulting services for resource projects across Australia with recent projects in NSW, WA and PNG. Recent projects have included: mine approval assessments, advice and guidance on compliance and real time noise monitoring systems, compliance assessment and independent peer review and technical advice.
Low frequency noise emission from mining operations have been a recent focus in NSW with proposed draft policy setting the ‘tone’ on how future operations will be modelled and assessed for compliance. Low frequency noise will continue to be a challenging operational constraint in the selection of plant and equipment.
Recent experience in real time noise monitoring, has continued to highlight the importance in identifying the appropriate monitoring methodology, technology and understanding opportunities and constraints to optimise monitoring systems.
Application of lower cost noise monitors in combination with emerging data transmittal technologies are expected to significantly reduce real time noise monitoring costs and potentially change the way we undertake noise and vibration monitoring in the future.
Pacific Environment Limited changes name to EnviroSuite Limited
In December 2016, Pacific Environment Limited announced a re-branding of the public company to a new name, EnviroSuite Limited. The new company name, EnviroSuite (ASX:EVS), is an extension of the organisation’s key product offering; an environmental monitoring and analytical software as a service distributed under the same name.
In light of the name change, all Australasian operations of EnviroSuite Limited will continue to operate under the name ‘Pacific Environment’ with little change to current branding.