The information below is provided in response to questions from the Fremantle Herald. All the information is publicly available to media online. The Fremantle Herald is encouraged to view or read the source material to obtain fuller details.
Coal and Gas
Cockburn Cement currently uses both coal and gas as fuel sources to create energy to heat the kilns to the high temperature required to produce lime. The company is continually working to optimise the best mix of these fuels based on a range of factors including its emissions profile and product quality using its current equipment and infrastructure. Emissions related to all fuel sources are well below the Licence limits for the Munster site.
Our Energy Use Fact Sheet (link below) details how coal and gas are used at the site; explains the emissions; and outlines how coal use at Munster is very different from coal use in power stations.
There have previously been health studies relating to the local area funded by the Department of Health which did not find a difference in respiratory condition between children in the local area and other parts of Perth. It is worth noting that emissions from the Munster plant have also decreased significantly since that study was conducted. This information, with links provided, is in our Health Questions Fact Sheet (link below)
Cockburn Cement is not a health authority. The company will be guided by expert bodies like the Department of Health or regulators like DWER on whether they should conduct health studies in the local area.
Cockburn Cement is confident that all its emissions are well below its Licence limits, as demonstrated by all monitoring and reporting. Those Licence limits are set specifically to protect human health and the environment. As a result there should be minimal impact on health and environment.
The company has been operating at the site for nearly 65 years and has no evidence of its employees’ health being impacted by working at the plant. Health monitoring of employees is undertaken annually and many employees have worked at the site for several decades.
It is the Department of Health’s decision whether it should undertake health studies and it sets out its current views in the link below.
The Department of Health document states clearly:
“The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has monitored a range of gaseous pollutants from CCL and found all of them to be well below national standards and guidelines. Therefore, the risk to your health from current emissions from CCL is very low.”
There are different forms of emissions monitoring undertaken in and around the Munster Plant. Some monitoring relates to dust and other monitoring to various compounds. There is information about the monitoring available from various sources.
Monitoring and reporting is undertaken by independent specialist companies that are contracted by Cockburn Cement, as the company has responsibility for this activity under its Licence from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).
Monitoring activity includes:
- Live data from the Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS) on the stacks on Kilns 5 & 6. This is an automated system reporting data every few minutes and can be viewed by at any time by community members to reassure themselves that particle emissions are below limits:
- Cockburn Cement’s air quality monitoring program is explained in three short Air Quality Videos that can be found at this page
- The Air Quality Fact Sheet from our specialist consultant also explains the program that covers stack testing, dispersion modelling and compliance assessment;
- There are a number of monitors located around the Munster site that provide data which is used in the air quality programs described on the links above. A further five monitors are soon to be installed as part of the recent Licence conditions for the site from DWER and these will display information online for community members.