3.1 Sources of noise

Resource exploration, extraction, processing and transportation have the potential to produce significant levels of noise which may impact on the surrounding environment. Communities can experience noise and vibration impacts from mining operations in many ways, not just from the mine site: noise may occur at all stages of the logistics chain, including rail and truck haulage, and activities at ports.

Open-cut mines require large earthmoving equipment such as dozers, excavators, loaders, haul trucks and face shovels, plus kilometres of conveyers. Air track drills are required for blasting. For underground mines, large ventilation fans are required. The processing of materials requires stackers and reclaimers, crushing and screening plant, coal washeries with the associated noise of material being tipped and separated, more conveyers and rill towers. Rail or truck unloading facilitates are common.

The use of explosives creates airborne pressure fluctuations (airblast) over a wide frequency range. When in the higher frequency range, this energy is audible and is perceived as ‘noise’. At frequencies of less than about 20 hertz, the sound energy is inaudible but is capable of causing objects to vibrate such as the rattling of loose windows and crockery.

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