NEW figures from the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Heritage reveal Mount Isa recorded the highest amount of sulphur dioxide breaches last year, the highest since records began in 2000.
Latest figures reveal 55 breaches of the national sulphur dioxide levels in 2013, up from 36 breaches in 2012.
Sulphur dioxide in Mount Isa is a result of smelting operations at Xstrata-Glencore Mount Isa Mines.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage publish daily sulphur dioxide levels from Mount Isa's two monitoring sites at Menzies and The Gap.
The National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality has set the national standard of sulphur dioxide emissions of 0.2 parts per million, per hour, with one breach permitted per year.
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection executive director Rob Lawrence has previously said he was aware of breaches of the national standard by mining in Mount Isa, but said they had until 2016 to meet standards.
The mining giant was excused from breaches after an agreement in 2011 between the Queensland government and Xstrata Mount Isa Mines, who agreed to the development of a five-year transitional environmental plan.
The TEP includes an agreed action plan to ensure operational performance achieves compliance with the new conditions by the end of the five-year transition period (2016).
In 2011, Mount Isa Mines revealed plans to phase out copper smelting in Mount Isa by 2016.
A Mount Isa Mines representative said hotter and drier weather conditions in 2013 were unfavourable for smelting operations, and could have attributed to the high levels of sulphur throughout the city.
The representative said the company reduced smelting operations for a total of 2194 hours to lessen the impact on the community.
Opposition environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad has previously said the government had turned a blind eye to the health of Mount Isa residents in the hopes of continued mining royalties.
``What the people of Mount Isa get in return from the LNP government is a raw deal,'' she said.
``They get a government that does not care about their health and well-being.''
A spokesperson for Queensland Health warned people experiencing discomfort during episodes of higher ambient sulphur dioxide levels should limit their physical exercise and consider closing doors and windows until the sulphur dioxide levels are reduced.