Penrice: mine dust concerns

Two politicians have raised concerns about mine dust from the Penrice Soda in Barossa, southern Australia. David Winderlich, independent member of the Legislative Council, requested the state governme…

Two politicians have raised concerns about mine dust from the Penrice Soda in Barossa, southern Australia. David Winderlich, independent member of the Legislative Council, requested the state government to stop Penrice from mining on hot and windy days. Winderlich and Ivan Venning – the Member for Schubert – have both pointed out that dust from the Penrice mine is a problem for health and the environment. They believe Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) tests recorded by a “hotspot caravan“ that has been located near the mine for the past nine months, show the mine has produced dangerous levels of fine-particle dust. The results, which have been rejected by Penrice Soda Holdings, the company that owns the Barossa mine, are in breach of the National Environment Protection Monitoring standard. Managing director and chief executive officer at Penrice, Guy Roberts, revealed that EPA dust monitors at the mine had not recorded any dust emissions that breached standards. We deny these exceedences, Roberts said. The supposition is those results picked up by the hotspot caravan were due to outside mine factors. The “hotspot caravan“ monitoring station, which was installed after appeals by nearby neighbours, was put in place on 31 March 2010, for a period of 12 months. The EPA is supposed to be the community“s watchdog authority with regard to environmental issues, but in this case it appears they have dropped the ball, Venning said. Meanwhile, the mine has already committed to install a new dust suppressant system in the near future, inside the mine“s aggregate crushing plant – one of the known sources of dust emissions, following trials of a water soluble, biodegradable foaming dust suppressant system. Venning, however, wants the crusher and conveyer belts enclosed, to help reduce dust emissions. No one including myself wants to see the mine closed, Venning said. Everyone is aware of the employment the mine provides for locals and that the soda ash extracted from the mine is used to make glass bottles – in particular wine bottles. Venning believes the mine can fit in with the community, adding that Measures need to be taken to ensure this happens, he said.