As we develop better understanding of the Prominent Hill operation, a key focus has been energy and water use. The establishment of baseline usage for energy, water and recycling is a key focus for 2010 to assist in identification and implementation of improvement programs.
All environmental incidents and near misses are reported through our incident reporting systems. Investigations are undertaken to determine the underlying causes in order to eliminate the potential for future failures and to apply effective controls company wide. Significant environmental incidents are defined as any occurrence that has resulted in or had the potential to cause at least moderate environmental impact. Non-compliances that result in a failure to meet legal requirements may also result in fines and prosecutions.
There were 85 environmental incidents recorded during the reporting period. Of these, there was one level 4 significant incident and two level 3 significant incidents and 82 were non-significant. There were 40 spills during the reporting period.
Our most significant environmental incident, rated level 4 on our internal rating system, was at Prominent Hill where a spill of approximately 60 tonnes of concentrate resulted when a trailer on a road train, transporting concentrate to the Wirrida siding, left the road and overturned. The spilled concentrate was subsequently recovered and the area was remediated. The incident was reported to the regulator and no further action was required.
Two level 3 significant incidents were reported for the period at Prominent Hill. One of these incidents related to a hydrocarbon spill of 400 litres, the other related to clearing of vegetation not in accordance with site procedures.
No fines or prosecutions arose from the incidents recorded during the reporting period.