ALMOST 2500 mining blasts rocked the Upper Hunter last year, leaving a trail of air pollution and cracked walls, the first full analysis of the region's mining activity has revealed.
At the same time, seismologists have detected an increase in earth tremors linked to blasting in the region in recent years.
Community representatives from across NSW will meet at Kurri Kurri at the weekend to demand greater protection from the impacts of mining.
In particular, they want greater accountability from government departments charged with regulating the industry.
Camberwell resident Deidre Olofsson was forced to do her own analysis of how many blasts occurred last year because no government department could provide the information.
Her review of the Annual Environmental Management Review reports of the region's 15 open-cut mines revealed 2490 blasts occurred.
"The worst thing is that I had to do this work myself because government departments could not tell me what was going on," she said.
"Some of the mines are blasting every day because they are being assessed individually. What we need is a cumulative impact report that can be used to assess the impact of new applications."
Bulga-Milbrodale Progress Association spokesman John Krey said communities were tired of mines and government departments averaging out impacts of blasting, such as noise and dust.
"Blasting is putting thousands of tonnes of pollution into the Singleton shire every year," he said. "It's not the average figures we are worried about but the peaks. The peaks occur because there is no regulation on the cumulative impacts of blasting."
A Department of Planning spokesman said considerations of the cumulative effects of blasting were considered and did strongly influence the department's assessment of potential blast impacts at specific operations.
"The strict limits placed on the timing, intensity and frequency of blasts at each site are based on our assessment of potential cumulative impacts," he said.
"Moreover, each mine is required to monitor and report its program of blasting and make it publicly available."
Of the 2490 blasts last year, 425 occurred at Coal & Allied's Mt Thorley-Warkworth mine and 347 occurred at the company's Hunter Valley Operations mine.
A company spokesman said its operations followed strict blast management plans that ensured best management practice was being employed and the relevant conditions of consent approvals were complied with.
"Coal & Allied keeps the community and near neighbours informed of upcoming blasts by calling some near neighbours directly, providing listing times on our website and text-messaging some residents prior to blasting."
NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said strict government regulations were complementing industry efforts to apply best practice in close consultation with the community through the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue.
"Co-operation across operations, restricted blasting times, detailed blast design and avoiding blasting during adverse weather has contributed to the NSW government reporting just nine blast-related complaints for the first nine months of this financial year compared to 20 complaints the year before - a 40 per cent drop," he said.