The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Warkworth Mining Ltd $15,000 for allegedly failing to carry out blasting activities in a competent manner.
A mine blast at Warkworth Mine in the Hunter Valley in August last year allegedly resulted in a large dust cloud leaving the premises.
EPA Director Regulatory Operations – Metro North Adam Gilligan said the EPA received complaints regarding a large dust plume travelling over private land and Mount Thorley Industrial Estate .
“It’s alleged that the dust cloud travelled through neighbouring properties and over vehicles using roads adjacent to the mine. After receiving the complaints, the EPA commenced an investigation,” Mr Gilligan said.
The EPA allege that Warkworth Mining did not have appropriate systems in place to minimise dust and fume emissions from blasting.
“Our investigators concluded the mine did not have appropriate measures in place to minimise the impacts on people working and living in the surrounding area, including the industrial estate.
“It’s important for mines to have practical measures and planning in place to provide adequate warnings to its neighbours of potential dust impacts.”
Mr Gilligan said Warkworth Mining had put in place systems to prevent future incidents, and the EPA will also ensure the company develops and implement an effective communications system with its neighbours.
“Managing dust from mining activities is a key issue for the community, and the EPA considers any non-compliance with licence conditions which are designed to protect the community and the environment as a serious matter.”
People can report concerns regarding dust to the EPA on 131 555. All dust complaints made to the Environment Line are being directed to the EPA officers in the field so they can target those areas of most concern to the community.