Serious about tackling dust

Port users have been implementing leading dust mitigation and management practices for the past decade and, through PHIC, work collaboratively to continuously improve industry’s performance on dust.

We have been working with relevant government departments, through the Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce and reporting on the Port Hedland Air Shed for the past decade.

In that time, we have seen substantial progress made with dust levels maintained despite throughput of export tonnage at the Port of Port Hedland almost doubling between 2012/13 and 2018/19.

Port users have a range of dust controls in place and work to implement leading dust management practice measures. These dust controls vary from operation to operation in accordance with individual licence conditions and/or site contexts.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Dust elimination: Focuses on the control of dust, such as moisture control of product from the mine to ship loading using water spray systems at key operational areas of storage and handling, and the growing of vegetation shelter belts.
  • Engineering controls: Such as wind barriers, enclosed chutes on ship loaders, dust covers on car dumpers, sealing of major traffic areas etc.
  • Administrative controls: Policies, plans, procedures and work instructions to personnel to ensure effective management of materials.

Dust exceedances are investigated and reported to the regulator – (DWER) by individual port operators in accordance with their specific licence provisions.

PHIC communicates honestly and transparently and has shared real-time monitoring data and reporting on dust monitoring since 2013.

Government also has a key role to play in implementing exposure reduction through planning controls, memorials on titles and education.

While PHIC members are competitors in the marketplace, through PHIC industry advances investment in new technology and innovations and shares information, experience and knowledge to ensure continuous improvement of dust management in Port Hedland.

It is through industry and the community working together with a common goal and a shared vision to make Port Hedland a vibrant, enjoyable place to live while at the same time ensuring the sustained growth of the Port that will deliver prosperity for all.

PM10 Results 2018/19

In the March 2010 Port Hedland Air Quality and Noise Management Plan, Taplin Street was determined as the most appropriate reference site to measure PM10 exceedances. In 2018/19 no exceedances were recorded above the 24-hour average interim guideline for PM10 of 70 μg/m³. This led PHIC to commission additional weather and wind analysis and a monitoring site assessment, which found no anomalies or equipment faults.

Since publishing the 2018/19 Annual Report, inconsistent PM10 readings were detected at the Taplin Street monitoring station within the Port Hedland Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network. This was confirmed on 23 January 2020.

PHIC’s investigation into the nature of the inconsistent readings is ongoing, however PHIC has reason to believe that the previously published Taplin Street findings for the 2018/19 reporting period are not reliable and advises that they should not be cited.

PHIC commissioned Katestone Environmental Pty Ltd to update the 2018/19 Annual Report to exclude Taplin Street findings. The republished 2018/19 Annual Report includes findings from the other seven stations in the Port Hedland Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Program, namely:

  • Kingsmill
  • Richardson
  • Neptune
  • Yule
  • Wedgefield
  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • South Hedland

Taplin Street dust analysis in relation to industry growth

PM10 levels recorded at Taplin Street have remained within the interim guideline for exceedances over a 12-month

period for several years, alongside an increase in iron ore exports through the Port of Port Hedland – increasing from

280million tonnes in 2013 to more than 520million tonnes more recently.



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