Managing Noise at HVO

Measuring noise

We regularly measure noise generated by our operations to assess our performance against regulatory conditions and the effectiveness of our noise management strategies. We measure noise using a combination of attended noise monitoring (hand held units) and real time noise monitoring.

When an alarm is received on site, our team at the Integrated Operations Centre (IOC) acknowledge and respond to the alarm with the use of real time data and directional noise indicator software. If noise levels are indicating a particular area of the mine, our operations are required to take action to ensure that noise is reduced. Modifications to operations are generally undertaken according to a hierarchy of control, and include:

  • Re-arranging fleet types*
  • Changing haul routes
  • Changing dump locations
  • Reducing fleet numbers
  • Shutting down tasks/mine site

*Some of the HVO fleet are fitted with sound attenuation packages reducing their noise levels. Some types and styles of Trucks are louder than others, these are assigned to work areas further away from sensitive receptors.

Integrated Operations Centre (IOC) and Shift Supervisors (OCE)- HVO

HVO take proactive measures at the beginning of each shift to account for prevailling meteorological conditions using predictive modelling. The IOC assists the mine with noise management and is responsible for investigating alarms from the real time noise monitoring network as well as relaying operational information (such as alarms and complaints) to the Shift Supervisor.  

The IOC communicates regularly with the mine Shift Supervisor (OCE) to help the site make changes to its operations if noise levels are rising, and to let them know whether the changes are working to reduce the noise levels. The OCE will also undertake boundary inspections to determine potential noise sources.

Our Shift Supervisor (OCE) may also speak with community members who raise concerns about mine noise. OCEs receive and respond to complaints on night shift and inform community members of current noise levels from the real time monitoring network, and (if applicable) any changes that have been implemented at site to minimise noise.  

Compliance

Routine compliance assessments are undertaken by specialist acoustic consultants. Monitoring is completed once per month at a number of locations surrounding HVO. The results of compliance monitoring are reported publically each month via the Rio Tinto website. For more information on compliance assessment, please refer to the HVO Noise Management Plan.

Is mining noise regulated?

Noise emissions from open-cut mines are regulated regulated through the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW). The NSW Industrial Noise Policy sets out the framework for the assessment and regulation of noise in NSW. Noise limits applicable to individual private residences are defined in the relevant Planning Approval, which also sets out the requirements for monitoring performance and reporting. 

Where can I find out more information?

You can find out more about NSW noise legislation and regulations, industrial noise policy and the Australian and New Zealand Environmental Council’s guidelines for blasting at www.epa.nsw.gov.au

You can find out more about how we manage noise impacts to ensure that levels do not exceed the specified criteria in the following documents:

HVO Noise Management Plan in the document library on this website.