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Whitehaven Coal Limited : Annual Report 2013
44 Whitehaven Coal Limited Annual Report 2013 5 Environment Air quality monitoring results are available to the public via the Company's website and are tabled with the relevant Community Consultative Committees7 at each meeting. www.whitehavencoal.com.au/community.cfm Air quality performance Overall, Whitehaven's air quality performance for the year was solid. While three exceedences were recorded adjacent to our Gunnedah CHPP site, in some cases these coincided with elevated background PM10 concentrations associated with non-mining sources. Notwithstanding this, the Company is working to reduce potential dust lift o from around the CHPP to minimise the potential for exceedances related to Whitehaven operations. Whitehaven monitors the impacts of its operations on surrounding air quality via a number of mechanisms, including measuring the extent of deposited dust (visible dust that can impact on amenity), and PM10, which is the microscopic dust particles less than 10 micron in diameter. PM10 particles are more associated with potential health impacts, and as a consequence, operations are subject to meeting PM10 concentration thresholds. Whitehaven also monitors for PM2.5, which are even ner microscopic particles. At this stage, there are no set concentration limits for PM2.5 set for Australia, but we can compare measured PM2.5 levels with the advisory reporting standards and goals for PM2.5. On what basis do we measure our air quality performance? What is PM10? Speci c initiatives Real time monitoring In the case of Tarrawonga, real time air quality monitoring results are published on the website daily, in line with the most up-to-date monitoring standards. Maules Creek will provide this data on the website once operations commence. Our other operations, while not required under their consents to publish daily monitoring data, are expected to move to this standard during the FY2014. The initiatives at Tarrawonga and Maules Creek will be combined with similar practices at the adjacent Boggabri Coal mine (owned and operated by Idemitsu Resources) to deliver a leading practice real time monitoring network (RTMN) that will monitor impacts and generate alarms so that the mines can manage operations in order to keep air quality emissions below the relevant criteria at neighbouring properties. The RTMN is part of the overall approach to addressing cumulative impacts from the three mines. The RTMN will have predictive capabilities that will enable the mines to manage operations based on forecast weather conditions and dust dispersion modelling to avoid impacts and plan daily activities. The RTMN will monitor and log the noise and dust impacts and will provide validated data that will be available for public viewing. Quirindi rail dust monitoring project Whitehaven's commitment to air quality management does not end at the site. The Company has instigated its own dust monitoring trial in the township of Quirindi, near the Werris Creek mine, to assess dust impacts associated with the rail transport of coal to the port. The study, which has been carried out with the support of the Liverpool Plains Shire Council, involves six dust monitors at varying distances from the track, and on both sides of the track, within the township of Quirindi. The locations of the dust monitors were chosen in consultation with the Liverpool Plains Shire Council and each of the monitors are located on Council property. Deposited dust is sent for analysis on a monthly basis to determine its likely origin and at this stage samples have shown no exceedence on generally accepted, government-endorsed air quality levels. 7 For more detail about our Community Consultative Committees please see page 55 of this report.
Annual Report 2012