The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Hunter Valley Energy Coal Pty Ltd $15,000 for allegedly causing excessive dust at Mount Arthur open cut coal mine near Muswellbrook on a day in October last year.
EPA Director North Adam Gilligan said Hunter Valley Energy Coal had allegedly failed to comply with their licence conditions by failing to conduct activities aimed at minimising the generation of dust from vehicles and responding to particular weather conditions that could contribute to dust.
“The rising wind conditions on the day, wind direction and Mount Arthur’s proximity to main roads required operational changes which did not happen,” Mr Gilligan said.
“Vehicles were photographed operating and generating dust which was being blown off premises. Wind data from monitors on the premises, taken at the time of these images, further suggests changes should have been implemented.
“Given the conditions, work should have been modified using additional water carts or stopped altogether.”
Mr Gilligan said the fine should put all mining operations in the Hunter area on notice.
“Dust from mining activity in the Hunter Valley is a key concern for the community. During adverse weather conditions, the EPA expects all coal mines to take extra precautions to control dust to ensure better air quality for the community.”
Community members can report concerns regarding dust directly to the mine or to the EPA on 131 555. All dust complaints made to the EPA Environment Line are directed to EPA officers in the field, so they can target those areas of most concern to the community.