Data, data, and more data
Literally millions of pieces of data have been collected, collated, modelled and analysed to inform the specialist studies for the Fingerboards mineral sands project Environment Effects Statement (EES). Here is a snapshot of just some of the data collected.
Weather – an Australian Standard (AS)-compliant weather station based at the Fingerboards site records wind speed and direction every 60 seconds, temperature at two and ten metre heights, humidity, rainfall, and barometric pressure. Weather information informs the modelling of off-site impacts.
Air quality – nine AS-compliant dust gauges in three locations have been analysing the baseline air quality of the Fingerboards area. These gauges run 24 hours a day and measure total particulate matter, PM10, PM2.5 heavy metals and respirable crystalline silica.
Water – Ongoing testing at multiple locations has included surface water (rivers, streams, dams) in and around the project footprint, groundwater in both the deep and shallow aquifer, rain water tanks of surrounding properties, creek and river sediments and stream flow gauges to quantify the rain run-off through the ephemeral gullies on site. Each sample is analysed for multiple parameters, including pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, total suspended solids, major cations, dissolved metals, total metals, nutrients, pesticides, herbicides and hydrocarbons.
Noise - noise monitors recording intensity and frequency of noise every second, averaged over one hour, have collected data at six locations to determine ambient background noise. More than 2,000 hours of sound was analysed to form baseline readings. Four vibration monitors were deployed for a seven-day period, recording for 650 hours to determine background detectable vibration.
Soils – hundreds of samples of topsoil, sub-soil, overburden, ore and sand tailings have been analysed for major elements, trace elements, particle size analysis, leachability, and soil fertility parameters.
Biodiversity – on five separate visits over 22 days, ecologists have spent 400 hours on site and used motion cameras to identify fauna species, including nocturnal and aquatic surveys. Botanists have accumulated more than 250 hours over 13 days across many visits identifying and classifying native vegetation on the mine footprint.
These examples provide some idea of the detail and rigour that underpins the environmental assessment of the Fingerboards project.
Importantly, data collection does not stop with the submission of the EES. Environmental monitoring is ongoing during the project approval process, and pending approval, continues throughout construction, mining, rehabilitation and post-rehabilitation phases of the project.