Two recent Port Hedland forums have seen members of the community, industry and State and local government agencies come together to discuss a wide range of topics.

The Port Hedland Industries Council (PHIC) two-day industry forum and workshop invited port users to discuss dust control measures across Port Hedland operations. The industry forum brought together a wide range of air quality, bulk materials handling and environmental management experts and researchers from Curtin University, Newcastle University and Greening Australia, to discuss challenges and opportunities for gaining further improvements and current research projects.

PHIC’s first quarterly Community Information Forum (CIF) connected all parts of the broader Port Hedland community. The CIF promotes open and constructive communication and informed discussion and will be a platform for community consultation and information sharing through access to a cross-section of experts.

The inaugural meeting saw discussion around topics including the Port Hedland Voluntary Buyback Scheme, PHIC’s 2019 Ambient Air Quality Annual Report and the transfer of the monitoring Network to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

PHIC Chief Executive Officer Kirsty Danby said the two forums reflected PHIC’s guiding principles of collaboration and information sharing.

“What is not always recognised in the current debate on dust performance in Port Hedland is the significant improvements that have been made in the past 10 years on implementing dust controls”, Kirsty said.

Port Hedland Port users have remained within the interim guideline for exceedances over a 12-month period for several years. At the same time, iron ore exports through the Port have increased from 280 million tonnes in 2013 to more than 520 million tonnes in 2018.

“Gaining further incremental improvements from industry when so much has already been achieved requires multi-disciplined expertise and a multi-faceted approach and focus across the supply chain.”

She said ensuring the viability of Port Hedland and the ability to attract people to Port Hedland is important to those working in the mining sector.

“Operational teams are on the front line in tackling dust and they are passionate about the town they live and work in and they want to make a difference.

“Many of these individuals within industry have been involved in dust control and mitigation for more than 10 years across multiple organisations and bring extensive experience.”