Mining complaints down in the Hunter Valley

 The number of mining complaints received by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure dropped by nearly 60% in December, compared to the previous month.

In November the Department received 33 complaints over mining activities around the Upper Hunter, however this number dropped sharply to only 13 the following month.

The complaints consisted of six regarding blasting, five over noise, one for infrasound, and one relating to working lights at night time.

Three of the blasting complaints related to a single incident on 8 December.

Following investigation by the Department, it found that blast monitor readings were within the limits.

However the monitor closest to the complainant failed to record the blast.

The miner advised the Department it would upgrade the monitor in question to reduce the risk of this incident reoccurring.

A number of site inspections were also carried out during December.

At Rio Tinto’s Mt Thorley Warkworth coal mine, the Department found that the placement of existing water fill points was reducing the effectiveness of the water cart fleet.

Rio stated that this issue had been identified in 2010, and it had since secured funding to solve the problem, with the initial two fill points commissioned in December 2011, and the remaining three scheduled for operation in February.

These new fill points are predicted to cut fill times by up to 15 minutes, while the storage capacity of each point has also been increased to enable continuous refills.

Rio stated that an early warning system for faults had been installed as well as automatic cut off.

The Department reported a total of 100 complaints received for the region last year, with 232 compliance monitoring operations carried out in total.

It issued nine warning letters and two penalty notices during this period.


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