Independence Group (IGO) is the owner and manager of the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation located in the Fraser Range, approximately 120km east-north-east of Norseman and 38km north of the Eyre Highway.
IGO’s strategic focus is on discovering and operating world-class operations producing the minerals and metals aligned with the clean energy storage and electric battery shift.
In its first full year of production from July 2017-2018, over half of the Nova nickel and all of the copper concentrates were exported through the Southern Port Authority’s Esperance Port.
IGO exports through the Esperance Port under their Environmental Protection licence, amended on October 1, 2018, to approve the loading of concentrates.
Prior to this, IGO and the Port operated under a Works Approval that was granted in July 2016.
IGO uses industry-leading best practice methods for ship loading to minimise dust impacts to the surrounding environment and protect community health.
IGO has conducted baseline soil metal assessments along their transportation route and implemented noise, dust, odour and weather monitoring at Esperance Port to ensure that they effectively manage risk and mitigate potential impacts.
The principal method used to control dust emissions is the innovative technology that their stevedoring partner Qube employs at the Esperance Port during transport and ship loading.
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The purpose designed and built Rotabox™ technology combines the use of a rotating frame and bulk containers with lockable lids to trap dust during loading and eliminate dust emissions to the environment.
Nova’s concentrate must meet strict moisture content requirements to minimise dust emissions, which is further supported by misting fans above the ship’s hold to trap and retain any dust that is generated.
Together with extensive environmental monitoring and the advantage of the Rotabox™ technology, IGO has maintained sustainable, low impact ship loading operations at the Esperance Port for over a year.
In July 2018, the trial was successfully completed using baseline and monitoring data collected over the past year for the application to the Department of Water & Environmental Regulation for a permanent licence.
Currently, the Esperance Port is operating under an amended licence to permit the ongoing exportation of concentrates utilising the successfully trialled loading technology.
IGO understands that mining operations have social impacts, and we believe it is important to invest in building and maintaining our strong relationships with all key stakeholders, especially our employees and the communities most impacted by us – those who live in close proximity to our operations.
They also remain strongly committed to engaging with the Ngadju Aboriginal people. Since July 2016, IGO has invested approximately A$230,000 in Esperance and the wider regional area around Nova for community programs.
IGO also actively participates in the annual Esperance Agricultural Show and continues to find ways to increase the number of employees who are of Ngadju heritage and/or live locally.