I happened to be at the Council building recently and had a skim read of the Zirconium mine proposal on public display for comment. It was enough to raise some concern. Up to this point I assumed that if a mine was being built in today’s climate it would need to be relatively ‘clean’. Well this may not be the case and people in Dubbo would do well to educate themselves on the EIS and make a submission, which closes mid November. You can read it in detail online.
– The mine will produce up to 700,000 kg of dust into the air each year. (702768kg in year 15). One wood heater gives 36kg particulate emmissions per year, so the proposed Dubbo mine dust is approx 20,000 wood heaters worth of particles. (Source ‘Specialist Reports’, ‘Air Quality’ Table 18 p 2-40′)
– The Dubbo Zirconium mine will average over 260,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse emissions per year, that’s is the equivalent of 72,000 new Holden Commodores of green house gas emissions. (The new Holden Commodore emits 3.6t of Carbon Dioxide per year on average use.) (Source Table 4.3.4 p4-77)
– The mine will produce up to 100kg/hour of Sulphur dioxide, 100kg/hour of nitrous Oxide (NO2), 23kg/hour of SO3, 29kg/hour of Hydrochloric Acid plus other toxic gasses, all directly into the air! (Source: calculated from Table 2.15, p2-83)
– The mine will leave behind 6.7 million tonnes of toxic salt after it closes. That’s the equivalent of 2200 Dubbo Olympic pools full of toxic salt. 44 Truckloads of salt will be delivered to the mine each week. This salt will be used and afterwards the used salt will be classified as restricted solid waste. The mine operators have decided it it too expensive to dispose of this toxic salt (it will cost $33 million per year) so they are going to leave it behind! The proposal is to bury 6.7 million tonnes of toxic salt in plastic and leave it there, hoping it won’t leak into the groundwater. (Source: 22.214.171.124 p2-79 “It is estimated that there will be between 6Mt and 7Mt of salt deposited over the 20 year life of the operation.”)
I encourage you to read the Environmental Impact Statement yourself and if you have any concerns you can make a submission online here at this link: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=5251 :
It can be as simple as one line saying you support the mine but want fewer emissions and less dust, or that you don’t support the mine because of the dust and pollution.
Also, here is a very recent and timely paper on the bad health effects of dust and pollutants from mining.
I’ve discovered (via the paper today) a typo in this page. The dust is 700,000 kg, not 700,000 tonnes. I’ve fixed that and I’ve also added references for all the other statements so you can check the sources for yourself!