Weather Forecasting Project

One achievement of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue is the consistent use of weather
forecast information to reduce or avoid air quality impacts from Upper Hunter mines.
 
Weather conditions such as wind and heat can have an impact on the amount of dust generated at mining operations. Mining companies and government regulators recognise that dust emissions from mining activities can be a serious issue if not closely monitored and effectively controlled.
 
The mining industry works hard to manage air quality each and every day. Minimising dust is part of
daily work procedures at Upper Hunter mines and is the responsibility of all mine workers. A range of techniques and technologies are implemented at individual mines to minimise dust emissions, but the Dialogue identified an opportunity to improve the information available to operations across the region so that action can be taken.
 
Effective air quality management begins with the way a mine is designed, and continues into its
operational management, right up to the end of its life through rehabilitation.
 
The Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue worked with experts, including Australia’s largest private weather service Weatherzone, to trial a new application that assesses forecast weather conditions and alerts mines to conditions that contribute to dust generation.
 
As the result of this project, each mine operates an extensive network of air quality monitoring stations in and around each mining operation that provide up to date data in real time. These monitoring networks are supported by the industry-funded, government-managed real time Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network.
 
By using weather forecast information, mines plan ahead and make informed decisions about
managing air quality. If adverse conditions are forecast, measures are put in place to minimise the
impact. Such measures include, but are not limited to:
  • Postponing blasting to avoid unfavourable wind conditions;
  • Closing elevated exposed working areas, and operating only at lower levels;
  • Limiting traffic to main haul roads;
  • Wetting dry areas by using water carts;
  • Reducing vehicle speeds to minimise wheel generated dust; and if necessary,
  • Ceasing operations until conditions improve.
Please visit our Air Quality Resources page for further information and resources.