Newcrest Mining Ltd’s Cadia mine has adjusted its operations to significantly reduce production of dust in response to the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) call for the mine to take immediate action to reduce dust emissions from the site.
EPA Chief Executive Officer Tony Chappel said the mine has reported initial actions including changing their underground operations in order to be compliant.
“We required immediate action from Newcrest’s Cadia mine and they have responded with significant changes but there is still more work to be done,” Mr Chappel said.
“Our investigations are ongoing and we will be monitoring compliance closely – the health of the community and the environment is our priority.”
In addition to lowering dust production levels, Cadia has advised they have also taken a number of actions including:
- Installing additional dust sprays and spray curtains
- Re-configuring the dust extraction systems
- Sampling of the vent rise emissions as required by the latest variation to the mine’s licence
- Installing additional dust sampling instrumentation
- Accelerated additional dust filtration units currently on order
As part of its ongoing investigations and monitoring of the Cadia mine an independent panel of experts has been appointed by the NSW EPA to provide advice.
Mr Chappel said the panel will play an important role in providing advice and ensuring transparency as the EPA enters the next stage of its regulatory actions.
“Each member brings diverse expertise and knowledge, which will provide invaluable input and support as we continue to monitor the impacts of the Cadia mine,” Mr Chappel said.
“Panel members will provide advice on sampling, testing and monitoring to understand the extent, impact and potential of pollutants making their way into the Cadia Valley community.
“They will also advise on any additional environmental modelling, investigations or studies that should be undertaken to better inform potential controls that will reduce the risk of harm to human health, the environment, and the community surrounding the mine.”
The panel is made up of nine members:
- Annabelle Duncan – Chair – Professor Emeritus, University of New England; Chair, NSW Physical Sciences Fund
- Lidia Morawska – Member – Distinguished Professor and Australian Laureate Fellow in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Queensland University of Technology
- Warwick Dougherty – Member – Director, Environment Protection Science, Environment and Heritage Group, Department of Planning and Environment
- Dr Ian A Wright – Member – Associate Professor, Western Sydney University
- Mark Taylor – Member – Chief Environmental Scientist, Environment Protection Authority Victoria
- Kishen Lachireddy – Member – Principal Advisor, Health Protection NSW, Ministry of Health
- Daniel Deere – Member – Water Futures Proprietary Limited
- Dr Simit Raval – Member – Associate Professor, School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, University of NSW
- Philip Worrad – Member – Coordinator, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program, Western NSW Local Health District
The EPA’s monitoring and sampling program continues with rainwater tank samples completed at more than 50 properties so far. Results are expected to be finalised over the coming weeks.
Under the licence variations issued last week, Cadia is required to undertake additional sampling on vent emissions, with first results due by 3 July.