WS Atkins International Ltd (Atkins) was commissioned to undertake the EIA for the Qatalum Project. This summary presents an overview of the main findings of the Qatalum EIA.
In addition, a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) was undertaken as part of the EIA. The SIA estimates that the project development will generate approximately USD 200 million expenditure on construction materials and services in the Qatar economy. This could be equivalent to 2,000 jobs, in addition to on-site construction workers.
Atkins' assessment found the majority of impacts to be only negligible or of minor significance. This is largely due to Qatalum adopting the design, and vast knowledge and experience gained from existing Hydro smelter operations.
The following impacts were rated as having moderate to minor significance for the operation of the plant:
- Particulate (PM10) emissions are only considered to have a moderate significance due to existing high background concentrations (dust storms). The contribution from the Qatalum Project alone is assessed as negligible.
- High concentrations of particulate fractions are not atypical of an arid environment like the MIC and the Qatar peninsula. No further mitigation/ control measures can be applied.
- The Qatalum Project will not directly emit ozone to the atmosphere. It will, however, generate ozone precursors. The main potential ozone precursors associated with the Qatalum Project have been minimized at source through the application of Best Available Technology.
Although the Qatalum project has minimized compounds with the potential of ground level ozone creation, current ambient air quality data show that SCENR standards are exceeded at times within the MIC.
However, any impact arising from the potential increase in ozone concentrations has been rated as having a moderate significance.
- Qatalum is following the QP/Total regional ozone monitoring study. Results here may give a better indication of how best to manage and adopt ozone control measures on a local, national and regional scale.
- Through the application of Best Available Technology, emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) have been reduced by a minimum 80 percent through the use of seawater scrubbers. The highest modelled ground level concentrations of SO2 occur close to the site boundary.
- In these localized areas, ground level concentrations will be well below the SCENR 24-hour air quality standard and the shorter term MIC guidelines, as well as the WHO and World Bank 24-hour criteria. In residential areas ground level concentrations will be well below the WHO and World Bank 24-hour criteria.
- Emissions of hydrogen fluoride (HF), mainly from the potroom ventilation, may cause minor damage to sensitive vegetation in the close vicinity of the plant. However, much of the impacted area is within the industrial area, with sparse natural vegetation, and this impact is considered to be of minor significance.
- The ornamental plants and trees already there are mainly of a resistant species, and more sensitive species could be replaced by more fluoride- resistant species, should the emissions cause visible damage.
- All other impacts identified for construction, commissioning and operation were deemed to have only negligible or minor significance.
The overall conclusion of the Atkins assessment of the Qatalum project is that impacts have been minimized, and that they will be managed as far as is reasonably possible. None of the impacts identified are so severe that they should affect the overall implementation of the project.