Listening in with 26 microphones to limit noise
January 16, 2014

Miners are using cutting edge Australian technology to monitor and reduce the impact of noise from a Hunter Valley mine site.

The Environmental Noise Compass, developed by Western Sydney-based Acoustic Research Labs, is based on military techniques but was specially developed for the mining industry.

The system uses 26 microphones to detect and monitor noise in real-time, and it’s unique because it can recognise noise sources coming from different directions, even when the sounds are of the same frequency.

An example of the Environmental Noise Compass to be installed

Rio Tinto Coal & Allied’s Mount Thorley Warkworth mine, located 15km south west of Singleton, will be the first mine to trial this revolutionary system, with an installation at the nearby Bulga village.

The Environmental Noise Compass will add to the eight noise monitors already located near the mine site, all with the aim of minimising disturbances to the local community.

“We understand noise can be an issue for some of our neighbours. Investing in this cutting-edge technology is another demonstration of our commitment to continuous improvement and effective noise management,” said Mount Thorley Warkworth General Manager Operations Cam Halfpenny.

“We are continually looking to improve the way in which we manage our activities, and we’re proud to be the first mine to utilise this new technology.”

And this new monitor will improve the site’s ability to respond to and manage noise in real-time.

“Noise alarms will be established to alert the operation of elevated noise levels, which will be responded to in the same way as for our existing noise monitoring network, including relocating equipment and, in some cases, shutting down equipment,” said Coal & Allied NSW Environmental Services Manager Andrew Speechly.

“This initiative complements other measures applied at Coal & Allied operations to better manage impacts on the community including shutdowns and machinery modifications like the installation of ‘quackers’ that operate at a lower frequency, reducing the long distance audibility of trucks reversing,” he added.  

This trial is just another example of our world class miners working with an Australian company to apply cutting-edge technology to minimise impacts on the local community.


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