The NSW Department of Planning & Environment has issued a penalty notice to Rio Tinto’s Hunter Valley Operations for exceeding noise levels during blasting.
According to the DPE’s April 2016 Compliance report, the miner recorded an airblast overpressure level of 125.5 decibels during a blast, exceeding the 120 decibel limit.
Rio Tinto has been fined $15,000 for the incident.
HVO is now in the process of updating its procedure to minimise the risk of a similar incident, the DPE stated.
Rio Tinto was not the only miner in the DPE’s sights, with the Department taking court action against Charbon Coal following an investigation which found the miner failed to comply with project approval, constructing a coal truck haul road outside of its approved locations.
Charbon has already pled guilty in the Land and Environment Court.
Boggabri Coal received a warning letter for a failure to conduct quarterly attended noise monitoring in the last quarter of 2015, as well as failing to undertake annual sound power level testing of attenuated equipment as required by the conditions of its approval and noise management plan. The breach was self-reported by Boggabri Coal, which has since carried out testing, and committed to a second round of sound power testing in 2016 to address the non-compliance.