Deposits of mineral sands, as with some other minerals such as clay, soils, rocks and many ores, contain levels of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). For this reason, Iluka adopts stringent and internationally accepted radiation management standards to minimise potential risk to human health or the environment from such concentrations occurring.
Details on mineral sands and naturally occurring radiation are outlined in Iluka's Radiation Fact Sheet, please refer to Further Information below.
In Australia for example, prior to the commencement of an Australian mineral sands operation to which radiation regulations apply, Iluka must obtain approval for a Radiation Management Plan appropriate for the proposed activities at that stage. These are reviewed by Commonwealth and/or State regulators against defined requirements before the grant of an approval to operate, and once approved, these become licence conditions. Compliance with a Radiation Management Plan ensures that actual exposure to radiation for all employees and contractors meets the prescribed statutory limits.
The International Commission on Radiological Protection sets two limits for radiation exposure above that received from natural background or medical exposure, to distinguish between members of the public and workers. These limits are 1 milliSievert (mSv) per year (for general public), and 20 mSv (for radiation workers). Radiation awareness training packages are provided to all relevant staff and contractors in relation to radiation management, in conjunction with broader organisational training programmes (for example, “Fit for Work”). The objective is to ensure no Iluka employee or contractor exceeds statutory allowable limits.
The exposures of surrounding communities are also monitored, and the contribution from any of Iluka’s operations remained very low in comparison with both public dose limits and the natural background radiation.
Iluka's Radiation Fact Sheet