BMT WBM’s World-Class Environmental Impact Statement Work Recognised

Posted on Sep 11 2014 - 11:00am by Sustainable News

BMT WBM the leading international maritime design, engineering and risk management consultancy, has had elements of its world-leading Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) work recognised through publication in two major scientific publications.

Salinity change projections with respect to 2006 by 2030 (left panel) and 2070 (right panel) – from Botelho et al. 2014.

Salinity change projections with respect to 2006 by 2030 (left panel) and 2070 (right panel) – from Botelho et al. 2014.

BMT’s work on the EIS for the Olympic Dam Mine Expansion (ODX) has been highlighted in a new book titled ‘The Natural History of Spencer Gulf’ and the journal ‘Water Science and Technology’. ODX was expected to be the largest Uranium mine, the fourth largest copper mine and fifth largest gold mine in the world when it was conceived with project costs estimated to be approximately 30 billion AUD$.

Part of the ODX project involved a large desalination plant at Point Lowly in Spencer Gulf, 280km away from the mine, which would act as the main water supply. Spencer Gulf is a special environment, classified as an inverse estuary where salinity at the head is larger than at the mouth and is the habitat of some ecologically important species such as the Australian Giant Cuttlefish. Point Lowly is the site of the largest known breeding aggregation of cuttlefish in the world. BMT was involved in the determination of impacts on the marine environment associated with the operation of the desalination plant. In particular, BMT developed models that looked into various aspects of the brine dispersion resulting from an outfall discharge and the effects of the intakes on fish larvae.

BMT’s work in Spencer Gulf was unique due to the sheer size of the project, the potential notoriety in the media, and engagement of

Water temperature change projections with respect to 2006 by 2030 (left panel) and 2070 (right panel) – from Botelho et al. 2014.

Water temperature change projections with respect to 2006 by 2030 (left panel) and 2070 (right panel) – from Botelho et al. 2014.

stakeholders both against and in favour. Given so much was at stake, the methodology had to be robust and the work faultless so that it would stand up to intense scrutiny. BMT developed innovative tools for a more realistic simulation of the dispersion of outfall discharges and assessed the operation of the desalination plant under climate change conditions.

BMT was also subjected to three levels of internal peer review, including a local expert, an Australian expert and an international expert to ascertain its work was scientifically sound and could stand scrutiny from the external review process. The work resulted in peer reviewed publications and recognition that BMT WBM engineers are world-class experts in the modelling of outfall systems.

Tony McAlister, Managing Director of BMT WBM commented: “I’m delighted that BMT’s cutting edge work in preparing Environmental Impact Statements has been recognised by two such eminent publications. The scientific rigour in the publication’s peer review process reinforces the quality of the work carried out by BMT. While the recognition engenders a huge amount of professional pride, it also gives further impetus to improve BMT’s capability for the benefit of our clients still further.”

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