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Air Quality and Blasting

Air Quality

How does Stawell Gold Mine (SGM) monitor air quality?

Stawell Gold Mine (SGM) has a network of dust monitoring gauges around the site. This includes two dust monitoring cameras and two continuous monitors in the Stawell township, and one bordering the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) to monitor emissions in real time.

SGM also conduct periodic monitoring, sampling and analysis of discharges from site vent shafts.

Is the mine complying with air quality standards and regulations?

The technical Review of Environmental Performance for the Stawell Gold Mine report found that the mine operations are compliant with Victoria's licensing and regulatory requirements.

The report did not find evidence of any risks to the community's health.

SGM has applied a range of dust control and suppression measures to ensure community safety.

What happens when cyanide discharges into the atmosphere?

Cyanide breaks down naturally in the environment. The break-down of cyanide in the atmosphere is a complex process and depends on environmental factors including wind, temperature and humidity. SGM needs to comply with specific environmental standards to ensure air quality requirements are met.

Blasting

Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) Remedial Notice (BA01160002) requires SGM to engage an independent blasting expert to conduct a review the mine's current blasting practices. The independent review is currently underway and due to be delivered to ERR by 30 September 2016.

What noise and vibration standards apply to SGM?

Environmental guidelines for Ground Vibration and Airblast Limits for Blasting Mines and Quarries apply to all new and existing mine and quarry sites in Victoria.

These guidelines are based on the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council's Technical Basis for Guidelines to Minimise Annoyance Due to Blasting Overpressure and Ground Vibration, September 1990.

How is noise and vibration from blasting measured and managed?

SGM commissioned a Blast Management Plan in 2010 from independent blasting specialists (Orica) for Stawell Gold Mines to manage and measure blasting.

The mine operates four permanent noise and vibration monitoring stations throughout Stawell. These stations monitor and record ground vibrations and airblast in real time.

In 2015, SGM noise and vibration monitoring stations were audited by an independent consultant. The audit determined that the monitoring stations were providing accurate measurements of noise and vibration impacts on the community.

I am concerned that underground blasting vibrations have caused damage to my house; how is this being managed and who can I contact?

Residents concerned that blasting vibrations have caused damage to their house should contact SGM on (03) 5358 1022.

Noise and vibrations from blasting cause me stress; how can SGM help?

It's understandable that you may find the sound of blasting and the vibrations annoying.

To manage community expectations better, SGM has introduced SMS notifications to advise local residents about impending blasts at SGM.

If you would like to receive SMS notification, please contact SGM on (03) 5358 1022 or email David Coe, Environment and Community Manager.

The company has also tried to minimise blast vibrations by using best practice blasting techniques.