A new conveyor dust suppression system at Glencore's port operations is reducing dust emissions and improving shiploading efficiency rates.
Townsville port is the export gateway for the Queensland Metals supply chain including copper and zinc-lead products from Mount Isa, Ernest Henry and Lady Loretta.
While copper cathode and lead bullion move through the Port, zinc concentrate is transported from Mount Isa and unloaded at the port before being transferred to ships on a conveyor system.
Glencore Port Operations Superintendent, John Cordingley, says that since 2010 the business has invested almost $16 million in initiatives to reduce impacts at the port.
"The recent installation of a new foam dust suppression system has been instrumental in reducing airborne dust from our product being transferred to vessels and this has helped to streamline the shiploading process," Mr Cordingley said.
"Environmental benefits and significant commercial gains have been realised including the faster loading of vessels, a reduction in labour costs, improved berth functionality and increased despatch returns for concentrate shipments."
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Foam is pumped to six outlets strategically positioned within the shiploading conveyor preventing dust particles from becoming airborne.
Several steps in the process have now been removed and less pre-blending of concentrates in storage sheds is needed and a fogging unit at the discharge point of the shiploader is no longer required creating a more simplified process.
Water sprays were previously used to control dust but were counterproductive with the product becoming sticky which caused blockages in the chutes.
Mr Cordingley said since the installation of the new system vessels are leaving quicker.
"Due to the success of the project, we are investigating options to have a second foam dust suppression system installed on other parts of the out loading system," he said.
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