MANGOOLA mine must carry out targeted low frequency noise monitoring of two Muswellbrook properties after the Environment Protection Authority conceded there were ‘‘methodology issues’’ with five previous mine-commissioned reports.
The monitoring must include a low frequency band width that an independent review of the reports, commissioned by Roxburgh Road resident Peter Brown, showed was a major source of his complaints about low frequency noise from the mine.
‘‘The EPA has identified that the reports, both individually and in combination, do not allow for a definitive assessment of noise emissions from Mangoola’s activities,’’ the EPA advised in a letter this week.
The decision to carry out more targeted noise monitoring follows more than three years of complaints by Mr Brown, his wife Julie and mother June who lives nearby. The complaints started in 2011 after Mangoola was allowed to move its coal processing plant one kilometre closer to the Brown homes after an unpublicised Department of Planning decision under delegated authority.
It also follows an independent review of the five reports, and articles in the Herald detailing how Mangoola advised the Browns in July last year that it would no longer accept verbal complaints from them after they called a Mangoola employee a ‘‘bastard’’ and ‘‘idiot’’ in two phone calls, 10 months apart.
Mr Brown said he was relieved his family’s complaints had finally been heard, and expansion of the testing to include the broader low frequency band width ‘‘will make a difference for us’’.
Their homes’ location between three mines provided each mine with an opportunity to blame the other, which was also an issue, he said.
In April last year Mangoola was granted approval to increase its extraction rate and remove a number of homes from a mitigation area based on noise reports it had commissioned showing noise levels were not as severe as first expected.