Best Practice Environmental Management in Mining (BPEM)

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on September 14th, 2011 2:24pm

The Australia Department of the Environment has produced a document entitled 'Best Practice Environmental Management in Mining.' We have included a link to the 50-page document here, but have also taken a number of key points from the document that reflect our concerns with the dust that can be produced from the proposed Ajax Mine in Kamloops.

"Dust is an inevitable problem for almost all forms of mining. It is one of the most visible, invasive and potentially irritating impacts, and it's visibility often raises concerns which are not necessarily in direct proportion to its impact on human health and the environment. However, many dusts do contain metals which are potentially hazardous, and certain types of dust particles are known to cause particular diseases. It has the potential to severely effect flora and fauna near the mine and to impact on the health of mine workers. Clearly dust requires special attention."

"A typical open cut coal mine of 3 million tonnes per annum produces about 10 tonnes of dust per day (NSWSPCC 1983). Large open cut mines in arid areas can be expected to produce significantly greater amounts. This can be compared to typical dust (stack) emissions from a large coal-fired power station of 5 tonnes per day and 1 tonne per day for an aluminium smelter."

"Many dusts containing metals are potentially hazardous. Toxic metals include arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, vanadium, zinc and their compounds. Dusts containing mercury, arsenic or cadmium are particularly hazardous. Lead has a much lower toxicity but is a common constituent of dust in certain locations (see Case Study 1)."

KAPA Note: The assay report for Ajax shows measurable levels of arsenic, cobalt, lead, manganese, nickel, vanadium, chromium, and zinc.  Mercury, for some reason, was not assayed by KGHM Ajax.

"Once established in the 'wrong' place in terms of prevailing winds and neighbours, a dust problem may be very difficult to rectify and be an irritating factor with surrounding residents."

"Mine dust can result in a serious nuisance and loss of amenity for populations living in the vicinity of a mine. This may be exacerbated by certain types of dust, such as coal and iron ore dust, that are highly visual and may result in a prominent and unsightly coating over surfaces. History has recorded numerous examples of dust problems created by mining operations, particularly those close to historical mining centres in arid climates, where, until recent times, dust control was rarely considered."

KAPA Note: All of the above factors apply to the proposed KGHM Ajax mine. The sheer size of the the proposed mine, and the fact that 50% of the mine would be within city limits, makes it imperative that the federal government order and Independent Review Panel do to a proper, un-biased environmental assessment of this project.

Again, here is the link to the document so you can read for yourself.


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