OPEN cut coal mines in New South Wales are now required to assess dust control measures as part of the Dust Stop Pollution Reduction program, implemented by the state’s Environmental Protection Authority.

Still in its first year of enactment, the program was developed on the back of recommendations from a report comparing Australian standards of dust control against international best practice.

Under legal obligation, the state’s 30 operating mine sites were required to achieve 80% dust control on haul roads and modify mining operations during adverse weather to reduce dust emissions.

“Mine haul roads are generally dirt roads and sustain continuous heavy vehicle traffic. Dust generated from haul roads within the mines is the biggest source of fine dust particles on most mine sites, contributing about 40% of total emissions,” EPA chief executive Mark Gifford said.

“The loading, dumping and moving of soil and rock waste is also a major source of dust emissions at coal mines. When it is windy and dry, this dust is more likely to leave mine sites, so tighter control is needed at these times.”

Following mine reports on the effectiveness of dust reduction programs, operators are now required assess how they are performing in terms of meeting dust reduction targets and submit their reports to the EPA in August 2014.

For more information about the program, click here.

For agreements made under the program, click here.