Our Carmen de Andacollo Operations are within walking distance of the community of Andacollo in central Chile. It is so close that workers often return home for their meals. The proximity of the mine to the community can be both a convenience and a challenge, especially when it comes to managing air quality in the region. Dust-generating activities at the mine such as transportation, crushing and blasting can lead to concerns regarding perceived health issues associated with dust exposure.
Working to Reduce Dust and Improve Air Quality
To improve air quality in the region and address those concerns, the government of Chile established the Atmospheric Decontamination Plan for Teck and other mining operations in the region, with the objective of lowering dust emissions, in the form of particulate matter of a size less than 10 microns (PM10), by 65% by 2017, compared to 2010 levels.
As part of the plan, Teck has implemented a number of practices including:
- Using weather vanes to inform and plan blasting practices; if conditions are unfavourable, blasting does not proceed
- Improving blasting techniques to reduce dust
- Reducing dust generation by using sweeper trucks to clean roads, irrigation at the blasting sites and using covers on concentrate trucks
We also undertake numerous voluntary measures for dust control. For example, paving internal roads on-site, spraying foam to reduce dust in the crushing process, and using a stock pile dome to reduce the amount of fugitive dust available to be picked up by windy conditions.
Community Engagement on Dust Reduction
As part of the Atmospheric Decontamination Plan, we hosted a series of roundtables in 2015 with the local community group, Comunidad Andacollina Organizada. These roundtables facilitated cooperative engagement in defining goals and actions to resolve concerns about dust. The comments and feedback from these roundtables will used in future development of the Atmospheric Decontamination Plan. As Teck implements the Plan, we provide regular updates on progress on teckchile.com
In 2017, we will continue to work towards achieving our objective of lowering dust emissions by 65% at Carmen de Andacollo, and advance our company-wide goal to improve monitoring and understanding of our releases to air and the potential impacts on people, communities and the environment for all operations.