PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mining major BHP has awarded contracts for Australia’s first wind fences, designed to reduce dust emissions as part of BHP’s A$300-million air quality commitment.
The fences will be built in Port Hedland by CIMIC Group’s CPB Contractors under a A$130-million contract.
The 30-m-high fences, which span a length of 2 km, will include mesh panels designed to reduce wind speeds, shielding the stockyard and reducing the potential for dust lift-off. As the wind speed reaches a certain limit, the mesh curtain opens, to let the air flow through the fence.
BHP said on Thursday that three fences would be built at its Nelson Point and Finucane Island operations. Construction of the wind fences is expected to start in August 2022 and take 14 months to complete.
Up to 150 employees will be involved in the construction of the project, with up to 10% Indigenous employment.
Designed for the Pilbara’s unique weather conditions, and rated specifically to withstand cyclones, the fences will include mesh panels designed to reduce wind speeds, shielding BHP’s stockpiles and reducing the potential for dust lift-off. The fences will abate dust emissions in current operations and ensure no net increases in dust emissions should operations expand over time.
“The wind fences will be constructed using global best practice dust management and air quality control technology,” BHP port GM Cindy Dunham said.
“The investment forms part of our Pilbara Air Quality Program and demonstrates our commitment to the region and contribution to the revitalisation of the West End. The wind fence project is a key part of our commitment towards continued improvement of our existing dust control measures as we look to continue growing production over time."
"We look forward to working with CPB Contractors on this exciting project, which will help control dust emissions in Port Hedland while also continuing to provide jobs and economic opportunity for the region.”
CPB Contractors GM for Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory Andrew Giammo said CPB Contractors was pleased to be supporting BHP to deliver this innovative environmental project that would provide lasting benefits for the community of Port Hedland.
“Construction of the wind fences will involve the fabrication of 3 000 t of structural steel – this work will be undertaken here in Western Australia and will be a major boost to local industry.
“Throughout the life of the project, we’ll also be looking to maximise opportunities for Indigenous businesses and employment.”
The wind fences, which will be fabricated and built in Western Australia, are designed to control dust from BHP’s port operations and will be the first of their kind in Australia.
BHP is spending up to A$300-million over the next four years as part of its Pilbara Air Quality Program, which also includes the trialling of vegetation barriers, in partnership with Curtin University and Greening Australia, to help capture natural and industry dust before it impacts the West End of Port Hedland, and the continued implementation and optimisation of operational dust control projects across its entire Pilbara supply chain, such as moisture management systems, ore conditioning and monitoring infrastructure, and improvements across its existing controls at its mines and port.
The project is still subject to all necessary internal and State government approvals.
Work is expected to start and will be completed in 2023.