Mine to trial directional noise-monitoring technology

Wednesday, 18 December, 2013

Mount Thorley Warkworth will be the first mine to trial a new directional noise-monitoring system with the aim to be more effective in real-time management of noise.

Developed by Acoustic Research Labs, the Environmental Noise Compass technology will enhance Coal & Allied’s existing noise-monitoring system, which currently involves eight monitoring devices surrounding Mount Thorley Warkworth, six surrounding Hunter Valley Operations and two at Bengalla.The system will be installed in the southern area of Bulga village in the coming weeks to assist with monitoring and managing noise from Mount Thorley Warkworth.

The technology uses an array of 26 microphones and advanced acoustic signal-processing methods to detect and assess multiple noise sources in real time with greater accuracy.

Mount Thorley Warkworth General Manager Operations Cam Halfpenny said: “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.

Coal & Allied NSW Environmental Services Manager Andrew Speechly said: “The new monitoring system will allow Mount Thorley Warkworth to be more effective in its real-time management of noise by measuring the sound energy of mining activities as they happen and respond accordingly.

“Following commissioning, noise-monitoring data will be fed back to Mount Thorley Warkworth operational staff 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.

“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.”

CEO of Acoustic Research Labs Ken Williams said: “This system is a first of class in environmental noise monitoring, applying advanced military processing techniques in a new and innovative way.”

The technology is derived from military techniques but has not been applied in a mining context before.

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