The AQM System has had a track record of monitoring SO2 emissions for Vale Inco and Xstrata Nickel since 2005. It is the largest SO2 monitoring network operating in Canada with 17 active monitoring sites, two meteorological stations and one SO2 mobile unit operating in Sudbury.
Bestech’s role is a third-party collector, monitor and reporter of company emissions data. The fixed stations collect ambient SO2 concentration data, solar radiation, surface and air temperatures at various elevations and the speed and direction of the wind. This information is delivered consistently through a Web-based platform to the Ministry of Environment and the mining companies.
Vale Inco’s environment air manager, Frank Javor, said that using Bestech as an independent third-party provides a higher degree of assurance to all stakeholders.
The AQM System provides Xstrata Nickel’s smelting operations with real-time data, which allows the company to react and adjust production levels, ensuring legislative emission compliance. Data from the AQM System is fed directly into Xstrata’s smelter SO2 modelling systems. This allows the company to accurately predict its emission levels.
“The ability to rely on the real-time data and know that it’s accurate, reliable and that we can increase or reduce output at different times of the day’s production is very valuable,” said Xstrata’s environment superintendent Marc Butler.
A solid-state PLC collection solution makes the system durable to power interruptions and fluctuations. It also has multi-level security access and several data redundancy levels to provide 98 per cent data collection and retrieval 24/7.
It can channel data through cable Ethernet, wireless, dial up or RFH networks managed by Bestech servers. All data is archived using three types of recording media. If a company exceeds an emission level, the AQM System can alert stakeholders instantly via email, telephone or Short Message Service (texting).
In addition to mine smelter sites, municipalities operating waste disposal facilities are interested in the AQM System, which can also track data collection for waste water meter flows, piezometer fluctuations and land and geophysics data.
This system also plays a role with another Bestech energy management system that helps collect and report air quality data within mines for ventilation-on-demand, another energy-saving product that is being developed for mines to reduce operating costs.