Consultation with traditional owners and land councils is an integral part of the process of capturing Aboriginal heritage issues and concerns.
In order to protect the Aboriginal heritage, the project team will work with the local Aboriginal community and with known databases to identify sites of interest and take necessary steps to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.
The Braemar Bulk Export (BBX) project aims to minimise air emissions during construction and when operational. It will achieve this by implementing a range of dust abatement measures, use of suitably designed equipment, management strategies and operational procedures.
A key air quality impacts from the infrastructure corridor is dust produced from earth-moving activities during construction, and the movement of vehicles along unsealed roads and tracks during dry conditions. The extent of the dust will vary, depending upon moisture, soil type and the current wind conditions. The infrastructure corridor will not generate significant air emission during its operational phase.
The Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Facility may also emit dust from the stockpiled iron ore.
In addition to dust there will be some exhaust emission from machinery used in the construction of the facility (eg bulldozers) and its operation. The FPSO may also generate exhaust emissions from motors on the ship.
During the construction of the pipelines and the pump stations, a range of measures will be implemented in order to reduce the amount of dust that will be emitted to the air including the reduction of speed limits near any residential dwellings during high dust conditions and spraying dusty work areas with water. Along the pipeline route, reinstating construction areas promptly following the completion of construction will assist in minimising dust.
During the operational life of the project the pipeline will only produce dust emissions when vehicles are traveling along the route for maintenance and inspection. This is not expected to be excessive as the pipeline route generally mirrors the local roads.
The FPSO may generate its own backup power and will have a diesel or bunker oil powered generator on-board. This is likely to produce small amounts of exhaust emissions.
Emissions from vehicles and machinery (diesel) will be emitted during operations. These emissions are expected to be limited as only machinery for use at the maintenance and operations base and small service vehicles are expected to be needed during the operational phase of the project.
Biodiversity is the variety of all living things; the different plants, animals and micro organisms, the genetic information they contain and the ecosystems they form. Maintaining ecological biodiversity will be a key consideration for the Braemar Bulk Export (BBX) project. The environmental assessment will outline how we propose to manage potential impacts on plants and animals. The project area has avoided areas of known conservation significance, endangered ecological communities and areas known to be home to threatened species thereby minimising the impacts on plants and animals diversity.
Communication with government, regulatory agencies and community stakeholders will be an important part of the process of addressing biodiversity issues in the environmental assessment.
A large portion of the project's footprint west of the Burra area is within cleared agricultural land and there is little remnant native vegetation to be found in this area and as such the project is expected to have a minimal impact on ecological biodiversity in this area. Extensive vegetation cover exists in the area generally east of Burra.
Detailed field studies will be required to both confirm the existing vegetation mapping and investigate areas where detailed ecosystem information is not available.
Potential impacts from the construction of the pump stations and the pipeline may include:
There may be impacts to the marine environment from the laying of the pipeline and cables, mooring of the FPSOs and discharges from the FPSOs. Sea grass beds are likely to be crossed by the pipelines and cables. Investigation will be required to determine the most appropriate construction techniques to avoid or minimise the impact to seagrass beds. There maybe opportunities to improve the biodiversity of the affected offshore area in the zone near to the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel and pipelines. This may improve the variety and diversity of plants and animals in the vicinity of these facilities. One option the BBX project is considering to improve the biodiversity around the FPSO is creating artificial reefs or similar.
The project team will aim to avoid as far as possible all known ecologically sensitive areas, endangered ecological communities and traveling stock routes containing remnant vegetation. In situations where avoiding these areas is not possible, a range of measures to reduce impacts will be put into practice.
During construction of the pipeline, plant matter will be kept in the construction area, unless contaminated with noxious weeds. Wherever possible this material will be spread back over the area after construction to stabilise the ground and support the re-establishment of local vegetation.
After construction has finished the easement will be reinstated. Key landscape features and natural drainage lines will be restored as close to original forms as possible and any measures put in place to reduce erosion would remain until enough vegetation has grown to keep the soil stable.
Such measures may include:
There are two potential methods for crossing the beach. One is open cut and the other is using horizontal directional drilling (HDD). At this point a preferred methodology has not been determined. Due to the underlying Tickera Granite that occurs around the waterline a HDD may not be feasible.
In an open cut installation a trench is cut through the beach and the pipe is then laid in the trench and it is backfilled. In this case a rock saw may be required to cut through the Tickera Granite and through the layers of calcrete in the soil above it. Once the trench has been backfilled erosion control measures are put in place at both the wave zone and the back beach.
A HDD installation uses a drilling rig with a steerable head to drill a hole from well behind the beach and back out into the ocean. This hole is then reamed out to the required size to install the pipe by pulling it through from one end.
No erosion control measures are required as this method does not disturb the beach or back bank. The hardness of the Tickera Granite may make this method not a viable alternative.
The Braemar Bulk Export (BBX) Project team is investigating ways to maximise employment opportunities for the local community. As the project moves from a concept stage and there is a greater understanding of the needs for the project, positions will be advertised within the community.
The Braemar Bulk Export project is a multi-user bulk export facility that is designed to deliver Magnetite Iron Ore Concentrate (MIOC) from the mining operations that are found within the Braemar Basin. But what is Magnetite Iron Ore and what is it used for?
Iron Ore is generally used by smelting operations to manufacture a product called pig iron, the base ingredient used in the production of steel. The Iron Ore mined in Australia can be broadly divided into two different types, Hematite and Magnetite. Hematite Iron Ore is found in the famous Pilbara region of Western Australia and the resulting product is commonly referred to as "direct shipping ore" due to its very high iron content of around 56% to 64%. This high concentration means the mining operation does not need to process the ore as much as a magnetite iron ore before it can be shipped to its clients and the smelting operations can use it directly into their furnaces.
Magnetite Iron Ore is lower in iron content in its natural form and requires the mining operator to process the ore into a concentrate. The Magnetite Iron Ore concentrate presents some advantages to the steel manufacturers in using this product. Magnetite Iron Ore releases less carbon emissions through the production process and has less contaminates which makes it ideal to produce premium quality steel. It also generates heat when being burned, reducing power costs.
The concentration process is well understood as it has been used for many decades and usually follows a process of crushing, screening, grinding, magnetic separation, filtering and drying. The resulting concentrate is similar to a fine powder which will be mixed with water and the slurry pumped to the Floating Processing, Storage and Offloading facility.
The Braemar Bulk Export (BBX) Project is made up of three key elements, the Floating Processing, Storage and Offloading (FSPO) vessels moored in the Spencer Gulf, an infrastructure corridor where slurry and return/process water pipelines, transmission lines, a road, and communication cables will be located and associated infrastructure such as pump stations. The infrastructure corridor connects the mines of the Braemar Region to the FPSO .
The construction of the facilities within the infrastructure corridor such as pipelines will have noise impacts during construction but are expected to have minimal impact during operation. The FPSO is unlikely to have a noise impact onshore, due to the vessels being moored 4km offshore. The pump stations and other associated infrastructure will generate noise when operating and during construction. The pump stations will be housed in buildings and designed to meet noise regulations.
In regards to the pipeline, noise impacts will mainly occur during the construction period when using bulk earth moving equipment such as graders, bulldozers and trenching machines for digging the pipeline ditch. There will be some blasting activity in a few areas where the pipe will need to be buried in rock.
At any one place these impacts would be temporary as pipeline construction continually moves along the pipeline route with a number of small crews working through an area.
It is anticipated that most construction activities will take place between 7.00am to 6.00pm although some activities, such as drilling under a road, may need to extend into the night. The level of noise would depend on the type of construction activity and its distance away from noise sensitive locations.
As the pipeline will be buried there will be very little noise during the operational period of the pipeline and any noise would come from a vehicle being driven over the route for routine inspections.
To minimise the potential noise impacts on communities and landowners the first strategy is to locate the pipeline away from dwellings and other sensitive locations (such as schools ). Where avoidance has not been possible certain measures will be developed to minimise impacts.
These measures include developing an ongoing program with those people potentially affected, particularly to inform them about any possible night time activities. Site training will also be required so employees will know what is needed to minimise disruptive noise and the use of buildings and structures to attenuate noise to acceptable levels.
There may also be noise generated during operations associated with vehicles and machinery moving along the pipeline route for maintenance work. This may be more frequent in the first year or two to ensure that the pipeline route is properly rehabilitated, but after that period surface inspections would be less frequent (about once every 6 months).
Safety is a critical component of the construction and operation of the project. Braemar Bulk Exports (BBX) project team will consider the risks and hazards that could potentially affect the community and construction crews during the construction and operation of the project.
The BBX project will be designed and constructed according to the relevant guidelines for each component of the project. The slurry pipeline will be constructed in accordance with the ASME Slurry Pipeline Standard. The Floating Processing, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel is to be constructed and operated under standard maritime rules and guidelines.
Potential risks and hazards that could affect the project and human safety will be considered and identified through a risk assessment.
In selecting the pipeline route between the Braemar Region and the Floating Processing, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel moored in the Spencer Gulf, the Barunga Bulk Export (BBX) project team endeavoured to balance the length of the proposed route (and therefore cost) with the environmental, social and engineering constraints between the two end points
The method used to select the pipeline route was to identify a suitable site for the FPSO, then to find suitable route options from the FPSO to the Braemar Region taking into account that very few gaps are in the North-South running ranges.
Issues that were considered in selecting the pipeline route included:
The preferred route commences at the FPSO located approximately 4km into Spencer Gulf and heads east crossing the beach North of Point Riley . It then travels to the south of Snowtown and Burra, before heading north east and finishing at the South Australian-NSW border about 45km south of Cockburn.
The preferred route will be further refined as the project moves forward.
A precautionary approach has been taken to define the pipeline route study area. This means that the route will be designed to avoid risks of serious or irreversible environmental damage with a preference to run through already disturbed areas.
Braemar Bulk Exports (BBX) Project embraces its environmental and social responsibilities as an essential part of the business and its interactions with all of its stakeholders. The BBX project is committed to the implementation of innovative, sustainable practices throughout all facets of our organisation.
Braemar Bulk Exports (BBX) project team intends to incorporate sustainability principles into the planning and operation of the project in order to have a positive impact on the environmental, social and economic aspects of the development. The project has already undergone a SUSOP (Sustainability Operations) workshop in the concept phase to determine what ideas could be brought to the project that enhanced the sustainability of the project, for further investigation.
Further ideas will be sought from the local community and stakeholder as the project is progressed.
Some examples of the ideas from the project teams’ workshop included:
Sustainable initiatives will integrated into the project's development plans as the project advances.
Groundwater is a vital resource to South Australia and the region in which Braemar Infrastructure operates.
Groundwater will not be used for this project. All water requirements for processing of minerals will be met by pumping sea water to producers. Any water discharged to the environment will be retained within managed residue storage facilities and evaporated. Waste salt will be retained in the residue storage facilities. Strict controls will be implemented to ensure that groundwater and surface water resources are not impacted by saline water imported from the sea.
The project construction and operations phases will be subject to strict controls to ensure that no unintentional releases impact groundwater or surface water. The project will also be the subject of regulatory oversight to ensure these requirements are met.
The project will be contacting each landholder along the proposed route to discuss the nature of the project and to seek access for studies and to help determine an optimal route. Braemar Infrastructure will discuss route options and an easmeent with landholders where the route crosses properties