Low levels of sulphur dioxide were detected over Mount Isa City last week

MOUNT ISA CITY: Low levels emissions of Sulphur Dioxide were detected over the city last week.
MOUNT ISA CITY: Low levels emissions of Sulphur Dioxide were detected over the city last week.

Last week, easterly wind conditions, typical of the winter months, blew gas from the Glencore operations to the west and away from the community, with the exception of a short period of time on Thursday afternoon when low levels of sulphur dioxide were detected to the north of the city, and Friday morning, when minimal gas was detected to the south. 

A spokesperson from Glencore said they operate in full compliance with the regulatory standards set under our government-approved Environmental Authority (EA) for sulphur dioxide and in 2018 we have not exceeded the sulphur dioxide conditions set under our EA.

“These detections were well within our regulatory limits, and dispersed quickly,” she said.

“The Mount Isa Mines operates under a modern, Queensland Government-managed regulatory regime and has an industry-leading air quality management framework in place.”

“We have one of the most intensive air quality monitoring networks of any city in the world. Air quality data from the Mount Isa network is uploaded in real-time to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science for monitoring and review.”

“Our Air Quality Control (AQC) specialists use data from the network to monitor emissions and observe emerging weather patterns. AQC provides direction to our smelters to reduce production or shut down if required to maintain operations within our regulatory limits,” she said.

The Glencore operations have invested more than $500 million on improving how they measure, manage, and reduce emissions from their operations to achieve significant improvements in their environmental performance.

“Last year, we restricted or shut down smelter operations for a total of 2,489 hours, or more than 103 days to minimise community impact.”

In 2016 Glencore launched their Air Quality in Mount Isa (AQMI) web portal on the Mount Isa Mines website, and the AQMI smartphone app, which can be downloaded for free.

“These applications provide comprehensive information about our air quality obligations and management practices, as well as our air quality performance results in real-time.”

Air Quality in Mount Isa (AQMI) web portal on the Mount Isa Mines website, and the AQMI smartphone app provide comprehensive information about our air quality obligations and management practices, as well as our air quality performance results in real-time

A Glencore spokesperson

“The AQMI web portal and smartphone app initiatives go above and beyond our regulatory obligations, and represent industry-leading best practice in terms of operational transparency,” the spokesperson said.

A  24/7 Community feedback hotline staffed by a locally-based Community Relations team are available to answer questions about the operations and the community is strongly encouraged to do so by contacting 1800 982 982.

“Over the long history of our operations, environmental standards are one of the influences that have changed the most.

“The way we do business evolves as new technologies and scientific research becomes available, and these advancements allow us to review engineering approaches, operating procedures and monitoring programs to continually reduce emissions,” she said.