Challenge

BHP

Dust control and mitigation in a town

Challenge

Dust control and mitigation in a town

Aim and scope

Technological solutions are being sought to reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM 10) and also to mitigate their impact on the Sierra Gorda locality.

The solutions required include those to stabilise dirt roads, deserted lands and parking spaces; create barriers to isolate the area of interest; increase the relative humidity in the area.

In addition, alternatives to prevent ingress of particulate matter in indoor spaces, such as residences and public facilities, and to improve air quality in high pollution environments have been included in the scope.

The solutions must be at least validated at laboratory level (TRL>=4).

Priority will be given to local companies, and then to national and international companies that incorporate local Sierra Gorda resources and labour in the development of the pilot project and implementation.

Measuring the effectiveness of the new proposed solutions will be the responsibility of the supplier.

Excluded solutions

  • Consulting or engineering studies.
  • Road paving
  • Particulate matter monitoring.

Operation and proceses involved

Minera Spence. The potential areas that will deal with the problem are: Corporate Affairs, HSE and Procurement.

Challenge

It is a desert area with medium and high intensity winds throughout the year, which causes the transport of particulate matter to the town of Sierra Gorda from different sources, such as: mining companies, the desert and the town itself.

This situation is increased by direct and indirect mining and productive activity, parking spaces and constant vehicular flow (especially heavy load vehicles that travel daily along the main and secondary roads without adequate stabilisation).

Consequences

The quality of life of the inhabitants of Sierra Gorda is affected.

When does the problem occur?

Constantly. This is due to the geographical location, desert area, meteorological phenomena (winds), the nearby mining and productive activity and the high flow of vehicles that travel daily through the locality and its surroundings.

How is it currently resolved?

The problem has not been solved. However, Minera Spence, as part of the Sierra Gorda Air Quality discussion panel, led by the Antofagasta Regional Secretary of the Environment, has made several investments to improve its environmental performance, controlling emissions from its sources, investing more than $11 million USD. This investment has focused on the construction of new dust collectors, impact plates on conveyor belts and a centralised vacuum cleaning system in the crushing area. In the mine area, investment has been made in the application of road stabilisers on ramps, since the application of suppressants already exists on active horizontal roads.

In the town of Sierra Gorda, a survey process will be carried out to understand the main sources of emissions in the town itself, as well as the community’s perception of the sources.

Tested technologies

There is a wide range of solutions on the market that meet technical KPIs, however, they have not been implemented due to the high cost of implementation and maintenance. As they will be managed and operated with public-private resources in the future, a key issue is costeffectiveness.