Illawarra coal miner fined

Illawarra coal miner Gujarat NRE has been issued two $3000 penalty notices for failing to comply with the conditions of its approval.

In the Department of Planning and Infrastructure's monthly audit for July it stated that Gujarat had received the two penalties over its Wongawilli coal mine for "failing to prepare and submit a noise audit for approval and for failing to commission and pay the full cost of an independent environmental audit".

It also received another penalty notice for its NRE No.1 coal mine, which failed to assess and submit options for improved noise mitigation measures by the due date of June this year.

In the Hunter Valley there were 30 complaints over coal mining activity in the region, the majority of which related to noise.

According to the Department 22 of the complaints were over noise, with only eight relating to blasting.

It stated that most noise complaints came from Bulga in relation to Rio Tinto's Mt Thorley Warkworth mine, while the rest related to the Camberwell operation.

All of the noises complaints were followed up with staff at the mine and no potential breaches were identified.

It added that "all eight blasting complaints were investigated and no breaches were identified".

The July audit was the first were dust had not been a major issue, and comes only two months after prosecution proceedings began in the Land and Environment Court against Mt Thorley Warkworth.

As part of this latest audit, the Department also reviewed the mines biodiversity offset areas for the Upper Hunter, with inspections carried out at the Ravensworth, Mangoola, and Wambo mines.

These inspections found that most of the Ravensworth offset area is new and management processes still being established.

Mangoola's offset area, which started in 2007, contained more mature ecological communities, while the Wambo area is quite old and contains the Warkworth Sand Woodland Endangered Ecological Community.

According to the report the "[Wambo]site was in excellent order and contained plant communities rarely seen on mine sites elsewhere in the region," adding that "a pair of rare red-tailed black cockatoos were observed during the inspection".

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