New Hope chief operating officer Bruce Denney said the company had taken the step to veneer the coal despite independent testing consistently showing dust levels well below government requirements.
“We have listened to the community and we will begin veneering the coal as soon as possible,” he said.
“Veneering is the process of applying a water-based solution to the surface layer of coal on each wagon as it passes underneath a spray bar.
“The solution dries to form a flexible ‘crust’ over the coal and physically prevents dust from being released from the wagons.”
New Hope’s coal already has a very high natural moisture content compared with coal from central Queensland and this moisture level is further increased by washing during our production process, Denney said.
All New Acland coal is washed prior to transport.
“Veneering will be a further proactive measure to guard against potential dust. This is another example of New Hope going above and beyond requirements to work together with the community,” he said.
Denney said trials with a mobile applicator were expected to start at the Jondaryan rail-loading facility early next year.
“The veneering station would then move from Jondaryan to a remote new site on the mining lease as part of the mine’s future planning, as New Hope has previously committed,” he said.