A HUNTER Valley mine has been fined $15,000 for breaching its operating licence.
Bengalla Mining Company, near Muswellbrook, was fined after it allegedly did not have proper measures in place to reduce dust from its operations.
Officers from the Environmental Protection Authority have been doing dust patrols whenever weather conditions were predicted to present a high risk of generating dust, and they inspected Bengalla’s mine on a dry, windy day recently.
They found the mine did not have appropriate measures in place to reduce dust. Officers observed significant amounts of dust being generated and blown from an excavator.
As a result, the mine breached its environmental protection licence conditions and was fined.
“Dust from mining activity in the Hunter Valley is a key concern for the community,” Environment Minster Gabrielle Upton said.
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“During adverse weather conditions, all coal mines are expected to do the right thing and take extra precautions ensure their operations do not generate excessive amounts of dust.
“Let me be absolutely clear about this: the EPA and the community expect mine operators to keep dust under control and any mines that don’t do this face significant penalties.”
People can report concerns regarding dust risk directly to the mine or to EPA on 131 555.
All dust complaints made to the environment phone line are directed to the EPA officers in the field so they can target those areas of most concern to the community.
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