BHP has unveiled its plans to construct a wind fence at Finucane Island, in Port Hedland, Western Australia, as part of the company’s Pilbara Air Quality Program at its iron ore operations.
The fence would be the first of its kind in Australia, and designed for the Pilbara’s unique weather conditions, it said.
BHP Port General Manager, Nilson Davila, said: “We recognise we have a shared responsibility to address dust issues at Port Hedland. The wind fence will be constructed using global best practice dust management and air quality control technology.
“This planned investment forms part of our Pilbara Air Quality Program and demonstrates our commitment to improve air quality in the area and contribute to the revitalisation of the West End.
“Subject to government approvals, the 30-m high fence supports our intention to improve and build on our existing dust control measures as we continue to increase production towards 290 Mtpa in the medium term.”
It is intended to be located on the western side of BHP’s Finucane Island port operations, and will include mesh panels designed to reduce wind speeds, shielding the stockyard and reducing the potential for dust lift-off, BHP said.
The system has been designed to deal with the extreme wind conditions often experienced in Port Hedland. As the wind speed reaches a certain limit, the mesh curtain opens to let the air flow through the fence.
“We continue to work closely with government, industry and the local community to further improve air quality controls at our operations and for the communities in which we operate,” Davila said. “We want to help improve local amenity while also continuing to provide jobs and economic opportunity for the region.”
The project is still subject to all necessary internal and state government approvals.