Air quality

One of our environmental commitments

We are aware of the impact our operations can have on the air quality in the surrounding region. We have identified all the coal mining activities that create dust emissions, to work on continuous improvement and implement the appropriate dust management controls for each process.

  • Handling of coal stocks: dampening the coal stockpiles in our crushing and storing yards with sprinkler systems installed at critical points, for example the crushing and loading areas of our railway.
  • Coal transportation: dampening and compacting coal in the rail carriages to ensure it is packed tightly during transportation to Puerto Nuevo.
  • Irrigation: we have permanent systems for irrigating internal and external roads, using a fleet of eight water tankers with a total capacity of 160,000 gallons. We adapt our irrigation timetable and map as our mining activities change. Recent improvements include pilots to test whether chemical dust suppressors improve irrigation efficiency.
  • Road maintenance: changing the paving material of our roads to reduce emissions.
  • Rehabilitating disturbed land: reforestation and revegetation of overburden disposal sites after they have reached the maximum height permiped in our EMPs.
  • Additional measures:
    • Predictive dust dispersion modelling to anticipate concentration changes and establish emission levels.
    • Establishing road emission levels and evaluating the efficiency of our dust suppressant irrigation trials.
    • Speed limits on our internal transit roads.
    • The development and implementation of an integrated air quality monitoring system for continuous monitoring of our dust emissions and real-time early warning systems to minimise impact.

We extend our air quality management activities to the population centres near our operations, to prevent or minimise local dust emission levels. The key activities are:

  • Paving key stretches of the roads we use to transport coal
  • Sweeping roads in local population centres
  • Planting trees to form natural barriers in our coal handling facilities

Integrated environmental management in Cesar and Magdalena

We have identified common practices among our host communities, such as burning waste in open spaces, which cause environmental problems, including the pollution of local resources and air quality.

Estrategia de manejo integrado del medio ambiente en los departamentos del Cesar y Magdalena

As our first project in partnership with the La Jagua de Ibirico Mayor’s Office and the MIMA Foundation, we have been working on a number of sustainable recycling projects. These started in 2016 in the district of La Victoria de San Isidro, with a project called La Victoria Recycles; we began a second version of the project in 2018, in the town of Boquerón: Boquerón Recycles. In 2019, we started a project in the rural area surrounding the railway corridor in Ciénaga, Magdalena; this version of the project is currently in the construction stage.

Key results and benefits

The project has generated significant benefits for the community, which include:

  • La Victoria Recycle collected 996 tonnes of waste collected between 2016 and 2019, while Boquerón Recycles collected and 384 tonnes between 2018 and 2019. This is waste that would have been disposed of by burning or by being dumped in local rivers or streams.
  • More than 1,040 tonnes of waste have been sold for recycling or used to make fertiliser.
  • Waste is collected from 354 homes in La Victoria de San Isidro and 181 in Boquerón.
  • La Jagua de Ibirico’s air pollution levels have dropped, according to the monitoring stations at La Victoria and Boquerón.
  • Boquerón has removed 80% of the waste dump sites previously found around its outskirts.