Open cut mine near Singleton. Image ~ Jeremy Buckingham .
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is targeting open cut mines causing excessive dust in the Hunter Valley with the second year of the ‘Bust the Dust’ starting this week.
EPA Director Regulatory Operations Adam Gilligan said “Bust the Dust” last year had been a success with most mines adjusting their operational activities on high risk, windy days and further improvement was expected this year.
EPA officers will be using the latest technology, including drones, to monitor mines and to ensure dust is minimised,” Mr Gilligan said.
Dust from mining activity in the Hunter Valley is a key concern for the community. The EPA expects all coal mines to be vigilant, to take extra precautions and to have systems in place to control dust from their operations, to ensure better air quality for the community.”
Mr Gilligan said EPA officers determine the risk of dust every day and will be frequently checking mining operations with the expectation that best practice dust controls are implemented, including shut down of operations if necessary.
Mines are on notice, the EPA and community expect mine operators to reduce dust and any mines that don’t will face significant penalties,” Mr Gilligan said.
Community members can report concerns regarding dust risk directly to the mine or to 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.