Dust talk swirls in cam­paign

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Sophia Con­stan­tine

West End dust lev­els con­tinue to be a State elec­tion talk­ing point, with sev­eral Pil­bara can­di­dates sug­gest­ing min­ing com­pa­nies should be re­spon­si­ble for fixing the prob­lem.

BHP Bil­li­ton last week an­nounced it had tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended assess­ment for its ap­pli­ca­tion to in­crease ex­ports to 290 mil­lion tonnes a year while the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Author­ity con­ducted an in­quiry into du­pli­ca­tion of dust mon­i­tor­ing in Port Hed­land.

A BHP spokes­woman said the com­pany wel­comed the min­is­te­rial in­quiry, and would use the ex­tra time to con­sider stake­holder sub­mis­sions and feed­back re­gard­ing the li­cence amend­ment ap­pli­ca­tion.

“BHP Bil­li­ton’s dust per­for­mance at Port Hed­land has im­proved over time, de­spite an in­crease in pro­duc­tion, due to the ef­fec­tive use of our broad range of dust con­trols,” she said. Among those con­cerned about the West End dust prob­lem was in­cum­bent Pil­bara MP Bren­don Grylls, who said he had al­ways be­lieved in de­vel­op­ment and the abil­ity to co­ex­ist with groups in the port.

“It needs to be done with the dust be­ing man­aged — the dust is re­quired by the Pil­bara Ports Author­ity to be at a dust ex­tinc­tion mois­ture,” he said.

“The port author­ity should be in charge of en­sur­ing it doesn’t hap­pen.

“The Town of Port Hed­land should be able to co­ex­ist hap­pily with the big­gest port in the world and it needs to be done by keep­ing the dust in the port.”

This sen­ti­ment was echoed by Mem­ber for the Min­ing and Pas­toral Re­gion Jac­qui Boy­dell.

“The Na­tion­als have been clear that dust made by in­dus­try needs to be con­tained in the port and the de­vel­op­ment of West End and Port Hed­land should not be hin­dered by dust es­cap­ing from the port,” she said.

La­bor Mem­ber for the Min­ing and Pas­toral Re­gion Stephen Daw­son said it was a “dis­grace” that after more than eight years, the Lib­eral-Na­tion­als Gov­ern­ment had still had not re­solved the prob­lem.

“They are ar­ro­gant and out of touch,” he said.

Lib­eral Pil­bara can­di­date Mark Alchin said although he be­lieved there had been im­prove­ments made by in­dus­try in the past decade, the level of dust was still con­cern­ing.

“It re­quires sit­ting down and find­ing a re­al­is­tic tar­get that every­one is happy to agree on,” he said.

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