Dust and noise top resident complaints about mines

Upper Hunter residents have lodged 138 complaints about coalmining since the opening of the Department of Planning’s mines compliance office at Singleton last October.

Many of the complaints have related to dust and noise levels and their cumulative effect on surrounding communities.

The problems have been exacerbated during winter due to cooler air and stronger wind.

The Department of Planning’s June compliance report shows 12 complaints were made during the month.

A warning letter was sent to Mangoola mine, near Muswellbrook, following a complaint that it was working on its highest overburden dump on the night of June 14.

‘‘The mine admitted at the first opportunity that the use of this dump at night was not in accordance with its approval and took immediate steps to ensure there was no repeat of the situation,’’ a department spokeswoman said.

‘‘The department was satisfied with this outcome and notes that the co-operation of the mine in this instance produced a positive compliance outcome.’’

Department officers will monitor the issue and conduct random surveillance.

Meetings were also held with blast and drill staff to try to minimise blast fumes and develop broader policies to regulate fumes from mine blasts.

Department staff inspected historic Wambo Homestead on June 7 as part of a review of Wambo Coal’s Voluntary Action Plan.

The department was satisfied that all actions required by the action plan had been completed.

A revised conservation management plan will be submitted by August 15.

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