The Bloomfield Group Rix’s Creek Mine – Innovative Mine Noise Suppression Practices

August 25, 2016

Innovation has always been a core part of The Bloomfield Group’s (TBG) mission. This story by TBG’s General Manager, Mining Development, Garry Bailey highlights the innovative noise suppression practices that have been an integral and on-going focus of mining operations at TBG’s Rix’s Creek Mine.
 
Mine noise is an aspect of mine operation that can develop into a source of conflict with mines and their near neighbours. Since its development in 1990, Rix’s Creek has utilized, developed and refined Noise Suppression technologies to ensure a mining operation that is mindful of surrounding land holders.
 
The Rix’s Creek Mine design was influenced by a desire to control mine noise. All of Rix’s Creek’s three mining areas (North, South, and West Pit) were developed by working at least the first two years as daytime only mines. This allowed for the building of rehabilitated, overburden dumps to shield the noise of night time operations, prior to night production commencing.
 
To further reduce night time mine noise, Rix’s Creek is at the forefront of technology innovation with the introduction of a number of noise suppression initiatives including:
  • Predictive Noise Models, utilising predicted meteorological conditions to highlight areas where mine noise may be enhanced and adjusting mine operations to control the actual noise levels.
  • Internal Radio Horns (replacing exterior air horns)
  • Self-Attenuating Reversing Alarms
  • Noise suppression of individual mobile plant.
 
Predictive Noise Model
 
Rix’s Creek has helped to fund Todoroski Air Sciences’ development of a noise enhancement model that uses the predicted local meteorological conditions to show where noise levels might be enhanced and also to prioritise the machine working areas that may affect off-site noise levels over the coming days. This information is used every day to plan the daily machine working areas and the locations where noise levels should be monitored each night.
 
Chris Quinn, Rix’s Creek North Environmental Officer (pictured) and other trained operators go out each night to these identified locations to measure actual noise levels and report back to the Open Cut Examiners. Where necessary, the working areas can be adjusted to keep the noise level under licence levels.

 
Internal Radio Horns
 
Exterior horns used for the safe communication of large machine movements have been replaced with an internal transmitter and receiver that functions as an internal horn. Every loading machine (excavator and front end loader) at the mine has its own individual frequency which the rear dump trucks can dial into.
 
Rix’s Creek first installed this technology in 1993 when 994 No1 Front End Loader commenced three shift operation. The onsite electrical team have refined the operation of the internal horns over the years so there is now an internal buzzer (with noise level adjustment) and/or flashing light, that the rear dump truck operators can use to receive the vital loading and safe movement information from their loading machine.

 
Self-Attenuating Reversing Alarms
 
The self-attenuating reversing alarm measures the actual noise level surrounding the operating machinery and then adjusts the noise level of the reversing alarm, to be only 5dB above the background noise level. One of these alarms was first installed on the Washing Plant’s front end loader in 1994. These alarms were so successful in helping with noise reduction that the whole mobile fleet was quickly retro-fitted. The Self-Attenuating Reversing Alarm is now a standard fitting on all mobile plant.

 
Noise Suppression of Mobile Plant
 
Noise suppression of mobile plant is now considered best practice for mines to assist with controlling mine noise. Since 2014 Rix’s Creek has added noise suppression to new mobile plant. The acquisition of the Integra mobile plant has greatly increased the numbers of noise suppressed mobile plant items including excavators and rear dump trucks that are in use at Rix’s Creek Mine.

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