MACH Energy intends to extend and strengthen the positive relationships project representatives have already formed with the local community. Regular project updates will continue to be provided through a variety of communication channels, including the Community Consultative Committee, web site, fact sheets, posters and face-to-face discussions. Community and environmental management systems have been developed to ensure work practises are monitored and managed against regulatory commitments. These systems allow impacts to be minimised and trends to be monitored while implementing regulated mitigation options. Satisfying community and environmental expectations is vital for our business’s success and securing the long-term future of MACH Energy. Independent specialists will advise how our approaches can become more sustainable through a continuous improvement framework.
Environment Management Strategies
Management Plans have been developed to cover the construction stage of the project’s development; for approximately the first 18 to 24 months of the project. Plans for work conducted after this time are being developed at present.
Baseline surface water monitoring has been undertaken at the project for many years to benchmark natural variations in surface water quality. Surface water monitoring data has been obtained with in situ measurements of water quality parameters including electrical conductivity (EC), pH and total suspended solids (TSS). Surface water, erosion and sediment control requirements will be monitored and managed according to regulatory requirements and applicable standards and guidelines. Site water supply options and strategies for minimising water use have all been considered during the design process for the Mount Pleasant Project, and will be monitored and managed appropriately according to requirements.
The regional landscape surrounding the project is dominated by existing mining and industrial activities interspersed with agricultural and pastoral land uses and areas of remnant woodland. The landscape within the site is surmounted by the peak of Mount Pleasant at an elevation of 368m and the radiating drainage lines from this peak have formed a series of well-modulated ridges. One of the mitigating measures for the change to visual amenity is a commitment to plant trees and develop vegetated bunds from roadside viewpoints to screen the operation and maximise roadside safety. Tree screen planting commenced at the project area in 2003 with planting of trees along key roads on land owned by Rio Tinto. The project intends to commence further landscaping activities during the next 18 months as the operation is developed.
Managing wastes correctly can result in benefits such as reducing contamination of landfills, prolonging the life of landfills, and reducing the costs associated with disposal. There will be no landfill developed on site, and all wastes will be removed from site and disposed of at relevant licenced facilities. The project will engage a licenced contractor to provide waste management services. Wastes will be segregated at source, and stored and transported appropriately. The segregation of wastes ensures different waste streams are appropriately managed based on their level of risk to the environment, and in accordance with any legal requirements. Segregation at source reduces the contamination of waste streams, improves the ease of storage, handling, disposal and tracking, and reduces the potential disposal costs for some items.
Environmental management is an integral part of our overall business. We manage any activities that can have an impact on the environment. Strategies are designed to efficiently manage environmental issues; ensure compliance with regulatory requirements; continually improve environmental performance; satisfy the expectations of stakeholders and the local community. Environmental procedures have been established, documented and maintained for all mining related activities that have a potentially significant impact on the environment. Procedures provide details of operation and maintenance of facilities, equipment and machinery where required. A schedule of environmental objectives and targets will be maintained. Compliance and conformance is monitored through internal inspections, environmental audits, external certification audits of systems, compliance audits and audits by statutory authorities, and the results of routine compliance monitoring.
Land‐use in the vicinity of the project includes coal mining, grazing, viticulture and rural residential holdings. Other features of interest to air quality include the Hunter River Valley which flows in a general north to south alignment in this area, and intersects with the general north‐west to south‐east alignment of the Hunter Valley. The valley gives rise to the distinct channelling of winds along this axis that is prevalent in much of the area. The local topography plays an important role in steering and channelling the wind, generating turbulence and large scale eddies, all of which influence dispersion of pollutants. Other influences in the valley include the night‐time drainage flows (katabatic winds) that transport air from the mountains down across the valley as well as the daytime flows that transport the air back upslope. Dust in the vicinity of the Project is currently monitored by a series of dust gauges that measure deposited dust on a monthly basis. Real-time monitoring equipment will monitor all on-site dust-generating activities within the project boundary and cumulative air quality impacts from the project and other locations. This monitoring will be used to modify the activities occurring on site to ensure that any regional air quality exceedances are not the result from the small contribution arising from the Mount Pleasant mine.
Long term unattended and short-term attended noise monitoring has been undertaken since 2006 and continues on a quarterly basis as part of the project’s on-going baseline surveys. This provides targeted qualitative and quantitative information on existing noise levels for surrounding residential areas to the project.
All reasonable and feasible noise mitigation measures will be implemented to minimise noise impacts; as determined by standard practices and expectations from regulators. Reporting on the effectiveness of the noise management actions and performance against objectives will be conducted through internal monthly reviews and annual regulatory and corporate reporting.