GFG working to tackle dust levels

DUST: LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a technology GFG Alliance is using to help identify dust sources that are not easy to see with the naked eye, as it continues to work on reducing dust levels in the eastern end of Whyalla. Photo: GFG
DUST: LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a technology GFG Alliance is using to help identify dust sources that are not easy to see with the naked eye, as it continues to work on reducing dust levels in the eastern end of Whyalla. Photo: GFG

The GFG Alliance says it is working hard to reduce elevated levels of fugitive dust that is impacting residents in the eastern end of Whyalla.

While the company was able to remove the staining 'red dust' through the implementation of Project Magnet in 2008, GFG said last year it was aware of the higher levels of dust experienced in the community in recent years.

Executive managing directors for the SIMEC Mining and Liberty Primary Steel businesses - which operates GFG's Whyalla-based sites - Matt Reed and Jason Schell said GFG had been clear about the importance of minimising dust levels due to the close proximity of the community to the site.

Mr Reed said they were aware residents had experienced higher levels of dust deposition.

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

"While our ongoing testing and monitoring shows us that background regional dust is still the largest proportion of the dust found in the community, we know that the dark coloured dusts from the site such as hematite and magnetite mix in with this, providing the dominant black colour," he said.

Mr Reed said while there was still work to be done, GFG had been working on a number of areas across the site as part of a plan to address dust levels, with improvements made over the past 12 months.

This included the closure of additional stockpile areas and increased water cart capacity; upgrades to more roadways and integration of dust suppression polymer; infrastructure repairs and additional water sprays; and a major upgrade to the Pelletising cooler system that resulted in improved process stability.

"Once the repair works to our inner harbour tip pocket are completed early next year, the number of trains being unloaded through the outer harbour facility close to the east end of town will reduce significantly, reducing activity levels and further reducing dust levels," Mr Reed said.

Mr Schell encouraged residents to 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 to help us understand and reduce our impact on the community and inform our continuous improvement programs.

"Resident feedback is truly appreciated and benefits our operations and the wider community. All notifications that we receive - both internal and external - are treated confidentially."

Mr Schell said the company was committed to reducing the current levels of dust and thanked residents for their patience while they were working on the issue.

Contact Ms Sharp via email at denise.sharp@gfgalliance.com or by phoning 0447 039 358 or 8640 4418.