MINING operations worldwide are burdened with strict environmental obligations that can often compromise planned production rates. Australian based company Pacific Environment recognised that environmental management should deliver improvements in operational efficiencies as well as compliance with environmental commitments, and has built the analytical tools needed to do this. Collectively known as EnviroSuite, the tools include automated reporting solutions and predictive systems.
EnviroSuite supports proactive management and includes modules for air quality monitoring and management, weather forecasting, noise management, national greenhouse and energy reporting (NGER), national pollutant inventory (NPI) reporting and complaints management, all of which are designed to speed up, rapidly respond to or avoid environmental issues that can compromise operational plans.
Previously, monitoring has been standard practise at mine sites but the time taken to analyse data or diagnose the cause of an issue can lead to noncompliance or risk of breaching environmental obligations – in many cases delaying production. It is now possible to predict the levels of dust, odour or noise several days in advance, or instantaneously diagnose the source of a complaint or high dust monitoring values in real-time, so businesses can be confident when action needs to be taken, and what that action needs to be to avoid compliance issues. Many mining businesses now use Pacific Environment’s environmental daily risk forecasts as part of their routine operational planning and response.
Accurate forecasts that identify unfavourable weather conditions are used for many operational reasons, such as planning maintenance in advance during very wet conditions, managing stockpile or product moisture levels, optimising water use for dust control and predicting the trajectory of blast fume. Pacific Environment’s weather forecasts are used daily in regions as diverse as the Pilbara in WA, Gladstone and the Bowen Basin in Queensland, the Hunter Valley in NSW and the Goldfields region of Victoria.
Mine sites can spend weeks each year meeting reporting obligations for environmental compliance, and more often than not mistakes are made which can be both embarrassing and costly. Pacific Environment’s automated reporting modules gather key data and process it for environmental reporting at mine sites, while introducing very high levels of auditability and confidence in reported numbers. More than 100 facilities around Australia now use the EnviroSuite reporting modules.
Pacific Environment general manager Matt Scholl said it was exciting to see EnviroSuite being used by such a broad range of resources clients to optimise productivity, whilst managing risks to their environment and local communities.
“We are now extending EnviroSuite through a dedicated development project, which will incorporate feedback from our client base and add further modules to ensure that EnviroSuite continues to add value to the resources sector,” he said.
Today, some of Australia’s largest mines, ports, refineries and heavy industrial companies including Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have adopted Pacific Environment’s products.