Noise & blasting
Some aspects of mining can be noisy, in particular blasting, crushing, draglines, conveyors and process plants. Our mines in NSW have comprehensive noise management plans to keep any disruptions to neighbours and the community to an absolute minimum. They are also tightly regulated for noise against standards adopted by the NSW Environment Protection Authority and outlined in its Industrial Noise Policy.
We reduce noise in a number of ways, through mine planning, plant and equipment design and selection, housing crushing and processing plant within buildings, enclosing conveyor systems, using terrain to acoustically shield the operations, and operational procedures like speed limits on roads around site, which also helps to minimise other impacts like dust emissions from trucks. Examples of these noise management techniques in practice in NSW include weather monitoring systems, the world’s quietest trucks and excavators and customised trucks with rubber matting to dampen sounds when they are being loaded.
Blasting is used to fracture rock, giving access to mineral deposits, so it’s an essential part of what we do, but it can affect the surrounding community. The two main impacts from blasting are overpressure (vibrations that travel through the air) and ground vibrations. We monitor our blasting extensively, reporting the outcomes to regulators and analysing results to help minimise impacts.
Blast Management Plans, based on Environment Protection Authority guidelines, outline management and monitoring methods to minimise blasting impacts. These methods include restricted timing of blasts, direction and detonation design, avoiding blasting during adverse weather conditions that will enhance vibration impacts, and designing the detonation sequence with delays between holes so blast waves from individual holes don’t arrive simultaneously at a neighbouring home or property.