GFG tackling dust levels

PROTECTION: Not all dust emissions are easy to see, so LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a technology GFG Alliance is using to help identify dust sources that aren't easy to see with the naked eye. It's a remote sensing method using light in the form of a pulsed laser to locate dust particle
PROTECTION: Not all dust emissions are easy to see, so LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a technology GFG Alliance is using to help identify dust sources that aren't easy to see with the naked eye. It's a remote sensing method using light in the form of a pulsed laser to locate dust particle

GFG Alliance is continuing to consult with residents and use innovative techniques as it aims to tackle fugitive dust levels.

Although it was able to remove the staining "red dust" through the implementation of Project Magnet in 2008, GFG is aware of the higher levels of dust being experienced in the community over the past two years.

Feedback from residents has highlighted concerns about black-coloured dust, particularly in the eastern end of Whyalla.

SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Directors Matt Reed and Jason Schell said GFG understands the vital importance of minimising dust due to the close proximity of the community to the site.

"While Project Magnet took away the worst of the dust challenges, we know we must continually work hard to reduce dust levels, especially during the current extended dry period," Mr Reed said.

"Our testing tells us that background regional dust is the largest proportion of the dust found in the community, however dark-coloured dusts from the site such as hematite and magnetite mix in with this, making it all appear black.

"The impact has been compounded by the duration of the drought. However, we are not using this as an excuse, but are working hard to minimise the components for which we are responsible."

Mr Reed said several additional dust controls had been implemented this year.

These include:

  • An extension of fixed spray coverage along roadways around the Pelletising plant
  • Closure of stockpile areas
  • Upgrades to roads with integrated dust suppression polymer
  • An increase in water cart coverage
  • Infrastructure repairs

In addition to these, the completion of a major upgrade to the Pelletising cooler system during the recent cold shut has brought about dust reductions through improved process stability.

Work has also been occurring in the steelworks' Ironmaking area to improve process stability and fume emissions capture, with further improvements planned for the coal-blending area.

Mr Schell said GFG was focused on not only maintaining the improvements made to-date, but also finding new opportunities via cutting-edge technology.

"Earlier this year, we deployed a four-month campaign of an innovative laser scanning technique, allowing us to identify dust sources that are not normally possible to see nor quantify," Mr Schell said.

"This is now enabling us to identify the next wave of improvements, which we're confident will contribute to us progressively improving our performance."

Mr Schell encouraged residents to regularly provide feedback, raise concerns or seek further information on GFG's performance by contacting Community and Stakeholder Engagement Advisor Denise Sharp.

"We monitor dust levels on a continuous basis at a number of locations, as well as sample and analyse dusts every month for their various components," he said.

"This gives us a lot of data to assess our impact and measure improvement, but it's the human element which is just as valuable.

"This feedback is vital in helping us understand our impacts on the community and assisting our drive for continual improvement.

"It's therefore truly appreciated and benefits our operations and the wider community. All notifications that we receive - both internal and external - are treated confidentially."

Ms Sharp can be contacted by phoning 0447 039 358 or 8640 4418, or emailing denise.sharp@gfgalliance.com.