JULY 2022

Managing air quality

Industry, households, and the climate all affect the quality of the air we breathe. In recognition of this, Fosterville Gold Mine maintains an extensive network of air quality monitors to identify and assess the potential impacts from its activities.

How do we manage air quality?

The mine adopts a preventative approach to air quality management, by implementing a comprehensive range of control measures to reduce dust (particulate) emissions into the surrounding environment. 

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Applying water to our roads, laydowns and other trafficked areas. 
  • Limiting vehicle speeds on unsealed surfaces;
  • Spraying dust suppressants on tailings heaps, embankments and stockpiles;
  • Hydro-mulching and revegetation of stockpiles, earthen walls and embankments; and
  • Restricting works in very hot and windy weather.

How do we monitor?

FGM’s extensive air quality monitoring program – which covers the entire length of our mining licence – allows us to continuously monitor, evaluate and manage our potential impacts. It includes:

  • depositional dust gauges, many of which have the ability to detect the direction in which deposited dust is being blown; 
  • high volume air samplers, which measure fine-grained particulate matter smaller than 10 microns in size;
  • continuous air quality monitoring stations, which provide real-time data on local air quality conditions; and
  • several weather stations, which enable us to understand climatic conditions and consider these when assessing air quality data.

Air quality is also critical to our workers underground. We routinely monitor our underground air conditions, including air emissions from our surface ventilation system, to ensure it is safe for our workers and for dispersal into the atmosphere.

What we monitor and why?

Fosterville Gold Mine’s air quality limits are set in accordance with the Environmental Reference Standard (EPA, 2021) and Publication 1961 (EPA, 2022) and are summarised below:

* PM10 are very small particles found in dust and smoke. They have a diameter of 10 micrometres (0.01 mm) or smaller.
** PM2.5 are very small particles usually found in smoke. They have a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (0.0025 mm) or smaller.

The data collected is used to:

  • assess local/regional air quality conditions, 
  • identify potential sources of dust, and 
  • inform additional air quality management measures, if required. 

Fosterville Gold Mine’s air quality monitoring results are regularly reviewed by our Environmental Review Committee, consisting of representatives from: 

  • the community, 
  • Earth Resources Regulation,
  • Environment Protection Authority Victoria; and other regulators. 

Any air quality exceedances are investigated and reported to Earth Resources Regulation and Environment Protection Authority Victoria.