Environment

Wind Mill

At Isaac Plains, we are committed to acting in an environmentally responsible manner.  We integrate environmental matters into our corporate and operational activities by:

  • Complying with legislative requirements
  • Communicating effectively with stakeholders
  • Committing to the reduction of environmental impacts

The Isaac Plains Project operates under an Environmental Authority (EA); which was first granted in 2006 by the Queensland Government for mining activities to be undertaken within ML70342. The EA sets out the environmental monitoring requirements and regulatory limits which must be met or bettered in order to continue to mine coal whilst protecting the environment. Isaac Plains Coal Mine conducts environmental monitoring activities in the areas of:

  • Water (potable, mine affected water, natural creek flows, water releases, groundwater, receiving environment)
  • Dust (personal, depositional and real-time air monitoring)
  • Noise and vibration (real-time monitoring at three locations to the west and east of the mine site)
  • Rehabilitation (re-contoured and re-vegetated landform)
  • Coal rejects (waste from the mining process)
  • Dam integrity/stability; and
  • Waste (general, recyclable and regulated)

The processes and systems in place for achieving compliance are expanded upon in the following sections.

An Experienced Team

The site-based environmental team at Isaac Plains is comprised of educated and experienced environmental professionals who oversee all facets of environmental management on site and ensure the operation is on target to meet or exceed the EA obligations.

The company’s track record for environmental compliance is notable and management’s focus on continual improvement through effective environmental systems, processes and technology ensures Isaac Plains will continue to foster the company’s positive status in the community.

Rehabilitation

Rehablilitation Seeding Machine

Rehabilitation is undertaken on a progressive basis with consultation between the environmental, technical services and production teams, as well as the landholder.

The rehabilitation objective for Isaac Plains is to create a safe, stable and sustainable landform using cost-effective spoil placement methods.

Profiling of the out-of-pit spoil dumps is completed to a slope of no greater than 15% and all surfaces are topsoiled, contour-deep ripped and sown with the nominated native flora species. The rehabilitation goal is to return site to grazing pasture, with areas of native tree, shrub and grass species. Both tractor and aerial-seed sowing methods are utilised.

Rehabilitation of the first mined-out areas commenced in 2007, after only one year of production. The biodiversity and floral variation observed within the rehabilitation monitor areas have been measured by third-party environmental consultants as ‘good to very good’ in all plots to date.

Rehablilitation Growing Grass

Waste Management

The waste management hierarchy employed at Isaac Plains begins with waste avoidance as the number one objective; followed by waste re-use, waste recycling, energy recovery from waste, with waste disposal as a last resort. Regulated waste, batteries, waste oil, recyclables including cardboard, paper, glass and aluminium have designated receptacles which allows for these waste products to be recycled.

Monthly reports generated by the waste service provider allow the environmental team to track volumes of waste and identify areas for improving the site waste management system.

Real Time Monitoring

Real-time monitoring of environmental parameters allows us to respond quickly and effectively to potential environmental nuisances caused by our operations; which link to a range of site shutdown procedures that are followed in the event of an EA limit reaching the compliance threshold.

The real-time monitoring equipment located on and around site includes eight ‘Dusttrak’ units for air quality monitoring, two automatic ‘ISCO’ water monitoring stations, one automatic weather monitoring station and two noise and vibration monitors for blast monitoring.

Water Management

Dam Release

The site water management system is comprised of sediment dams (for containing mine affected water), release dams (for releasing good quality water to the environment), a raw water dam (for storing the allocated raw water supply) and a drainage system which allows for clean water run-off collected by the catchment to be diverted away from the active mining area.

Maintaining an appropriate water balance to ensure site has enough water storage capacity for wet season of flash flood events, but at the same time does not run out of water, is a challenge faced by all mine sites. At Isaac Plains, a site water balance model has been developed by specialist water engineers, which is calibrated on a regular basis to ensure the water inputs and outputs are accurate.

This model allows site to run scenarios of extended dry or wet periods and the data generated is then used to improve water management processes or systems on site.Ten evaporative fans were installed and commissioned on site in September 2011 as a response to excess water stored on site from the 2010-11 wet season event.

These fans have a combined estimated consumption of approximately 2.5 mega litres per day; however more data needs to be collected to substantiate this figure.

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