The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment issued an AUS$15 000 fine to Rio Tinto’s Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) as part of its April compliance inspections.
According to the department, HVO exceeded approved blasting limits at its Hunter Valley Operations South coal mine when one of its blasts caused an airblast wave of 125.7 dB(L) at the Warkworth village monitor on 25 February.
The company is required to ensure that its blasts are below an airblast limit of 120 dB. The mine has since advised the department that it is updating its procedures to reduce the risk of similar incidents occurring in future.
“The department’s compliance officers conducted nine site visits across the Hunter and Central Coast in April,” a departmental spokesperson said. “Our compliance officers review reports and conduct audits, spot checks without warning, as well as work with companies to ensure they are sticking to the rules.”
The department also conducted compliance checks at Rio Tinto’s Bengalla and Mt Thorley Warkworth coal mines, BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur Mining Complex and Peabody’s Wambo coal mine.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.