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New initiatives at Bluestone drive an even cleaner future

Monday August 28, 2023

Today saw the official opening by Minister for Resources, the Hon Felix Ellis MP, of two environmental improvement projects costing $37M. A great example of Bluestone being a  “Cleaner” operation which reinforces the changes occurring across our industry sectors. 

The first is a waste water treatment plant which treats water pumped up from underground and neutralises the pH and removes sediment. Previously, a closed circuit of multiple wetlands were used to allow water to move from one body to another while being dose treated in a controlled circuit before eventually being released when the water met the environmental standards. The new plant is far more responsive and will derisk environmental exceedances. 

 
The other project is a Paste Fill facility. Some of the tailings are sent through this facility and blended with cement before being sent back underground via a one thousand-metre vertical shaft and distributed into voids.  Bluestone is fortunate to have both the ore body which allows paste to fill voids – (not all ore bodies can have this method) and the chemical makeup of the tailings are also suitable for this method. This reduces the amount of above-ground tailings storage required. 
 
From Minister Ellis’ Announcement

Bluestone Mine is Australia’s largest producer of tin, a key mineral critical for the manufacture of electronic parts, corrosion resistant food packaging and the production of alloys used in applications as varied as bearing metals, statues and musical instruments. Importantly, the Mine also supports hundreds of jobs in regional Tasmania. 

Minister for Resources, Felix Ellis, said that the opening of the newly constructed paste fill and wastewater treatment plants provided significant improvement to efficiency and environmental protection at the mine. 

“The new facilities will maximise the re-use of waste and minimise the waste storage needs to support the new high yield Area 5 project at the site,” Minister Ellis said. 

“Already employing 340 people and supporting an extra 240 contractors, the Area 5 operation will be the lifeblood of Renison through to 2030 or beyond. 

“With reserves sufficient for around 10 years of operations at current rates, it is pleasing to see Renison’s continued contribution to the West Coast and broader Tasmanian community continue.   

“I congratulate the entire Bluestone Mines Tasmania Joint Venture team for their commitment and effort in realising this project. Investments such as this underpin our mineral industries’ confidence in Tasmania’s prosperity and stability as a place to do business.”

 
TMEC CEO Ray Mostogl enjoying a tour of the new Bluestone facilities.