Environmental Concerns

Port and Rail Environmental Superintendent for Fortescue Mines, Ben Blackaby, has a varied and challenging job preserving and protecting the natural landscape around the Fortescue Iron Ore mining operation in Port Hedland.

He shares what's involved in the environmental protection of the landscape and how they reduce negative environmental impacts.

Ben Blackaby is from Perth where he studied Environmental Science at Uni. He loves his job as the Environmental Superintendent for Fortescue because it makes him feel good about doing something positive for the environment. The major environmental concern for Fortescue is the fly away iron ore dust from the trains and ship loaders. The ore is naturally quite moisture laden but Fortescue has to sprinkle the cargo with more water to keep the material in place as much as possible. Ben spends much of his day in a vehicle driving up and down railway tracks assessing the dust fall out using dust deposition gauges.

He also takes photos of the mangrove areas surrounding Port Operation to study changes in the natural vegetation.

Ben also has a big job setting traps and capturing feral animals. Mining companies are continually legislated by government to preserve and protect the natural environment creating a growing job sector in this area.

Ben says his job is very active and would suite fit people with an environmental conscience.

SkillsOne recently visited tradies who work in the mining industry in the Pilbarra, in Western Australia, run by the Fortescue Metals Group.

Fortescue focusses on iron ore.

Fortescue's port, rail and mine project commenced construction in February 2006 with the turning of the first sod at the Company's port site at Anderson Point in Port Hedland. Just two years later, the open-access rail infrastructure is complete, the Fortescue Herb Elliott Port is operational and the mining operations at the Company's first mine site, known as Cloudbreak, are well underway.

VJ Michael Gumley