Mount Isa has the most intensive air quality monitoring system of any city in Australia.
The Air Quality Control system, first introduced in 1975, is a comprehensive monitoring system that incorporates 15 monitoring stations throughout Mount Isa to monitor ambient air quality levels, which are in turn used to direct operations at our copper and lead smelters and Incitec Pivot’s acid plant.
The ambient air monitoring stations throughout the city include:
- 10 sulphur dioxide real-time monitoring stations located in the community to ensure that the smelters operate within accepted regulatory limits; and
- Five high-volume dust samplers located throughout the community to monitor levels of heavy metals.
In addition to the AQC, in 2009 DEHP also installed an Ambient Metals Monitor in Mount Isa that provides real-time information on the level of metals in air.
The Queensland monitoring network consists of 23 stations around the state containing approximately 90 instruments recording and storing weather and air pollutant data.
The department transfers the monitoring data from its stations to the air quality data screen throughout the day. Visitors can view the air quality index on the department web site and request information for a particular day and time. The screen will show the selected weather and air pollution information.
In December 2011 Mount Isa Mines (MIM) were transitioned from environmental regulation under a special agreement act and were issued with an Environmental Authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
From December 2011, MIM have been required to operate under an environmental authority which requires the mining operations to comply with contemporary environmental standards and goals, including those set in the Environmental Protection (Air) Policy 2008 (EPP (Air) 2008). In order to achieve these limits, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection granted a Transitional Environmental Program (TEP) in April 2012. The TEP sets out a staged program of works aimed at continually improving air quality emissions from the mining operations to achieve compliance with air quality limits set out in their Environmental Authority (EA) by December 2016.
Currently MIM’s operations must achieve compliance with the limits in their EA or TEP at company air monitoring sites in the Mount Isa community (note: the Queensland Government monitoring sites are not part of this network).
To demonstrate compliance with their TEP/EA, MIM is required to measure air quality at the following locations described in their EA and meet the TEP/EA limits. The EA required monitoring sites, shown in the map below are located at:
- May Downs Homestead – May Downs Road
- Sunset State School – Hercules Road, Sunset
- Soldiers’ Hill – Wau St Soldiers Hill
- RSL – Carbonate Street, Soldiers’ Hill
- Racecourse – Simpson Street Menzies
- Corella Street – Corella Street Townview
- Credit Union Building – Camooweal St Mount Isa
- Mary Street – Mary Street, Mount Isa
- Spinifex State College – Fifth Avenue, Parkside
- Healey State School – Thompson & McNamara Roads, Mornington
- Selwyn Park – Twenty-Third Avenue, Happy Valley
- Suter Road – Suter Road, Healy Heights
MIM is required by their new environmental authority to monitor lead, arsenic, cadmium levels at seven locations and sulphur dioxide at twelve locations in Mount Isa. The Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) also monitor lead, arsenic, cadmium levels at one location and sulphur dioxide at two locations on behalf of DEHP. DSITI receives and reviews data obtained from these air quality monitoring stations on a monthly basis and provides advice to DEHP on compliance with the conditions of MIM’s environmental authority and TEP.
Real time information on air quality in Mount Isa
Mount Isa Mines has created two new industry leading online tools for providing information on air quality in Mount Isa.
The AQMI smartphone app (air Quality Mount Isa) presents data from Mount Isa Mines air quality monitoring systems for greater community awareness of air quality and weather conditions.
- Receive notifications when a suburb has an increased likelihood of sulphur dioxide
- See what the air quality in your suburb is like
Download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play, just search for AQMI.
For further information follow link: http://www.mountisamines.com.au/EN/sustainability/Pages/AirqualityinMountIsa.aspx