2.6 Air quality management plans

A dust or air quality management plan is a way of systematically dealing with or avoiding problem issues, and may be required as part of an environmental approval to operate a mine.

Identifying rational and effective solutions to air quality problems requires a sound understanding of the nature, causes and effects of the problems. For example, if there is a risk of dust nuisance impacts in a neighbouring community during dry northerly winds, the plan needs to identify the main contributing dust sources (such as haul roads or topsoil dumps) and prepare mitigation actions (such as increased watering, reduced haulage activity or alternative activity locations) for times when those winds occur. Advising the community of the risks and actions taken is also important. If complaints occur, they need to be handled systematically and documented from time of receipt, through the consultation and investigation stages, until they are remedied.

In other words, a plan needs to be more than just a list of isolated actions. Important elements for a management program include:

  • well-defined objectives
  • appropriate methods of implementation
  • effective monitoring and assessment of performance against compliance targets
  • well-defined lines of responsibility
  • auditability
  • communication of essential information to stakeholders
  • periodic program review based on measured performance.
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