Mining and Heavy Industries

South32 to build emissions abatement demonstration facility

BGC Contracting has secured a bulk earthworks and roads contract at Fortescue Metals Group’s Eliwana iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

A new facility that aims to reduce fugitive methane emissions will be established at South32’s Illawarra coal mine.

NSW Deputy Premier and Resources Minister Paul Toole announced funding to establish a pilot Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) abatement project that will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the innovative technology for industry.

Toole said the pilot project, which is being co-funded by South32, will help to encourage greater investment in, and uptake of, VAM abatement technologies to significantly reduce fugitive methane emissions from coal mining operations in NSW.

“After a competitive Expression of Interest process, I’m pleased to confirm South32 as the successful tenderer to deliver a world leading, commercial scale ventilation air emissions abatement facility,” Toole said.

“The NSW mining industry is committed to reducing fugitive emissions from coal mining, which account for about 8.9 per cent of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions, with most of those fugitive emissions coming in the form of VAM.

“Our scientific trials in partnership with the CSIRO are delivering promising findings about abatement technologies and expanding these trials at an operating mine with a commercial scale facility will show how technology can help to support a stronger and safer coal mining industry.”

Toole said global demand for NSW coal has hit an all-time high, contributing to record royalty returns of approximately $2 billion in the 2021 calendar year, keeping 22 thousand people directly employed with flow-on benefits to other industries including freight, manufacturing, construction and steel production.

“Coal mining continues to play an important role in our regional communities and while we’re supporting the responsible development of coal resources, we’re also working toward a lower carbon future,” Toole said.

“Today we’re putting our money where our mouth is to encourage innovation in the coal mining industry with technology that could have applications in coal mines around the world. I thank and congratulate South32 for its commitment to innovation and its partnership with the NSW Government as we strive for continuous improvement in the mining sector.”

A co-contribution of $4.5 million will be provided by South32 to establish the facility.

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