Positive Results for UHMD Projects

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Improved air quality, more water flowing in the Hunter River and continued growth of rehabilitated mined land, are all positive results highlighted by recent updates from the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue’s environmental projects.

The Dialogue has released its annual updates of data for its Air Quality Monitoring Network Analysis Project, Water Accounting Framework Project and Rehabilitation Principles and Commitments Project.

The Dialogue’s Air Quality Monitoring Network Analysis Project tracks trends in Upper Hunter air quality compared to other NSW regions monitored by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment. With data from 2020 now included, the study includes PM10 and PM2.5 concentration data for eight years dating back to 2013.

The 2020 data report shows air quality significantly improved last year in the Upper Hunter and other NSW regions measured in the study due to higher rainfall and less impact from bushfires.

The wetter than average year in 2020 also boosted flows in the Hunter River with 500 gigalitres entering the Upper Hunter river system compared to 214 gigalitres in 2019.

Of this, according to the Water Accounting Framework project update, 74.4 per cent of the river water stayed in the system while just 3.6 per cent was extracted by the mining industry and 22.1 per cent was used by farming, residents and businesses. Onsite rainfall/runoff accounted for 55 per cent of water used in the mines.

The rehabilitation project reports a further 848 hectares were rehabilitated in 2020 compared to 1380 hectares disturbed by mining. The annual rehabilitation to disturbance ratio of 0.61 means for every hectare disturbed, 0.61 hectare of rehabilitation was undertaken. The 2020 rehabilitation rate was impacted by the start of new mine project; all mines go through life cycles where, at the beginning of the cycle, as new mining areas are being developed, disturbance generally outweighs rehabilitation. However, the rehabilitation rate grows as the mine progresses.

The area of land now under rehabilitation by Upper Hunter mining companies totals a record 14,242 hectares – or almost 38 per cent of all land disturbed by mining in the Upper Hunter.

Full details of all the Dialogue’s projects including the latest updates as well as historical data can be found online at miningdialogue.com.au

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