Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue releases 2023 Air Quality Update

The Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue has released their 2023 Air Quality Update.

The Update analyses and reports on key aspects of air quality across the Upper Hunter region, including
concentrations of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) for the 2023 calendar year, as well as examining the relationship between particulate matter and other factors such as rainfall and raw coal production.

Since 2019, The Dialogue has engaged independent consultants (led by Damon Roddis at Zephyr Consulting), to analyse and report on air quality across the Upper Hunter. This analysis was in response to concerns from stakeholders about the perceived air quality in the Upper Hunter. Through this analysis and reporting, the Dialogue aims to better inform stakeholders about air quality in the region, by providing fact-based information. This yearly update follows on from the initial report delivered by ERM Australia-Pacific Pty Ltd, which was peer reviewed by a senior principal research scientist at the CSIRO .

Each year, the Dialogue analyses publicly available data from 14 NSW Government Air Quality Monitoring Stations, including Singleton, Muswellbrook, Warkworth and Wybong. The analysis examines changes in concentrations of PM10 (coarse inhalable particles) and PM2.5 (fine inhalable particles), along with the correlation between rainfall and particulate matter, and the relationship between raw coal production and PM10. This data is compared to data from all other NSW Government monitoring regions across NSW.

Since the ongoing air quality project commenced in 2019, this analysis has found that air quality in the Upper Hunter has changed, but these changes are generally consistent with changes observed across the rest of NSW.

Key findings in the 2023 update include:

  1. PM10 concentrations within the Upper Hunter are generally consistent with changes experienced across the rest of NSW.
  2. Changes in PM2.5 are generally consistent with those observed elsewhere in NSW.
  3. There is a correlation between rainfall and particulate matter concentrations across the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network.
  4. Changes in Upper Hunter PM10 concentrations are associated with regional conditions and are indicative of a minimal change in the contribution from local emission sources inclusive of mining.
  5. The relationship between raw coal production and PM10 continues to be investigated and closely watched, though the report noted that recent fluctuations in PM10 concentrations were anticipated to be related to ambient temperatures and the amount of rainfall the region has received between 2019 and 2022, rather than a reduction in coal production.

The 2023 Air Quality report is supported by a series of infographics that explain in everyday language the key components of air quality and visually represent the key findings in the initial 2020 report and in the 2023 Update.

The Dialogue is committed to continuing to undertake annual reviews of air quality in the
Upper Hunter and to publishing this information on our website and through social media, to
provide transparent information to the community.

The full report can be found on the 2023 Air Quality Update page.

To view the infographics, please click the following links to the Dialogue’s page on Facebook or LinkedIn, and be sure to ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ the pages to keep up with the latest news from the Dialogue.

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