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Over a dozen environmental science students from around the world recently visited Hanson’s Lytton concrete plant.
Over a dozen environmental science students from around the world recently visited Hanson’s Lytton concrete plant.

‘Future industry leaders’ visit concrete plant

A national construction materials producer, in conjunction with a leading university, has hosted a site visit of Australian and international students at one of its concrete plants.

Hanson recently opened the doors to its Lytton concrete plant in southeast Queensland to over a dozen environmental science students from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The students, who viewed the plant working at full capacity, were not just from Queensland but from across Australia and around the world - Canberra, New South Wales, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, China, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Zambia.

The site visit enabled the students to see a combination of complex production processes and sound environmental management in progress. Hanson’s plant manager for its Lytton and Northgate facilities Tony Sellwood and fellow Hanson managers provided the students with information about the concrete manufacturing process – from international logistics to how Hanson’s national network of plants connect, create and deliver thousands of cubic metres of concrete every year for some of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects.

The tour also discussed Hanson’s on-site processes and raw materials, potential environmental and safety risks and community outreach.

Future leaders and consultants

The site visit has been organised annually between Hanson’s national sustainability manager Paul Timmins and QUT’s co-ordinator for environmental studies Belinda Davies for the last four years. Timmins said that the site visits provided an important opportunity for businesses like Hanson and universities to collaborate.

“It opens up opportunities for research that isn’t otherwise available,” Timmins said. “The students are potential business leaders in this industry but they could also be part of government bodies that regulate the industry, or they could end up with consulting firms that deal with environmental matters. Having some insight into how the industry operates will be a valuable experience for them to get a head start and make practical decisions that are not just based on theory.”

Davies said the site visit was invaluable for her students because it enabled them to gain insights into industry practices, experience how sustainability translates from theory to reality and engage with Hanson’s plant managers and staff.

“During the tour we discuss a range of course linkages and we had several spirited discussions about potential pollutants, their implications and mitigations, including dust, noise, water, land contamination, waste management and recycling, so it was an intensive and fantastic real life experience for everyone,” she said.

The feedback from the students about the practical experience of the plant’s operations was very positive. International student Martha, from Kitwe in Zambia, said that the practical elements of the QUT course, such as the Hanson site visit, were critical to learning to develop training and procedures for practical use at home.

“Zambia has a long way to go, compared to the monitoring and review protocols in Australia,” explained Martha who works for a local council in Zambia and was sponsored to study Australian environmental issues management to enable her to apply fresh thinking in her workplace.

“In Zambia, our government is just starting to tackle pollution and its consequences. It’s been difficult previously to convince leaders to take real action.”

Lytton is one of 260 concrete plants that Hanson operates in Australia. Developed at a cost of $8 million, Hanson regards Lytton as a benchmark concrete facility that demonstrates high standards in environmental protection protocols and throughput processing productivity.

Hanson managers provided the students with information about the concrete manufacturing process.
Hanson managers provided the students with information about the concrete manufacturing process.

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Friday, 23 August, 2019 12:17am
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