Resources Noise & Blasting

Wilkinson Murray has been involved in the development of numerous resource based projects, from large open-cut coal mines to small rural quarries. Whilst the coal mines can cause significant noise and vibration impacts, largely because of their 24-hour operation, quarries can cause a similar impact because of their often close proximity to residential areas.

The firm is able to predict, assess and control noise levels from such operations and to design blasts to control the air blast and vibration affecting nearby sensitive areas.

mt arthur mine


Mt Arthur is one of the largest open-cut coal mines in NSW and Wilkinson Murray was involved throughout the planning, Environmental Impact Statement, design and operational stages. Noise and blasting were both addressed with the outcome that the mine is operating without significant noise or vibration impacts.

During the investigations into the night time noise impacts, Wilkinson Murray developed ways of predicting noise levels for all weather conditions and describing the outcome in a succinct way that was easily understood by the whole community.

The BarnOwl directional noise monitoring system was initially developed specifically for this project to meet the specific conditions of monitoring included within the Consent. This system is now marketed by SoundScience.

ulan mine


The Mangoola Coal Project (formerly Anvil Hill Project) is located approximately 20 kilometres (km) to the west of Muswellbrook in the upper Hunter Valley. The Mangoola Coal mine will produce up to 10.5 million tonnes per year of run-of-mine (ROM) coal of both export and domestic quality thermal coal with an expected mine life of 15 years.

The Mangoola Coal Project comprises the design, construction and operation of:

  • an open cut coal mine;
  • coal handling and crushing facilities, a preparation plant (washery) and stockpile areas;
  • water management, supply and distribution infrastructure;
  • handling and placement of overburden (rock);
  • mine access road including a new intersection on Wybong Road, internal access roads and haul roads;
  • Infrastructure including offices, staff amenities, workshop, conveyors, and ancillary services; and
  • a rail spur, rail loop and rail loading infrastructure for the transport of all product coal.

Noise emissions were identified as an important environmental consideration for the project.

Wilkinson Murray undertook a comprehensive noise assessment of various operating scenarios across the mine’s proposed life. This assessment included the detailed statistical analysis of meteorological conditions and, in particular, the prevalence of adverse conditions affecting the propagation of noise to surrounding receivers. Among the noise control measures recommended by Wilkinson Murray was restricting the working elevation of haul trucks and dozers at night to below the maximum elevation of overburden emplacement areas.

This was found to offer greater noise mitigation than purpose built bunding and provided an economically viable mitigation option for the mine. Other control measures included the construction of a noise barrier around a portion of the rail spur loop and a recommendation for a real-time noise monitoring system to aid in the management of noise emissions under adverse meteorological conditions. Xstrata Mangoola Coal has been granted approval and is currently in the establishment and construction phase.

exeter quarry

GOAF GAS PROJECTS, BHP Billiton, Illawarra

BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal operates underground longwall coal mines in the area surrounding Appin in NSW. As part of the mining operation GOAF Gas needs to be removed from the mined area in order to maintain safe conditions in adjoining shafts. Because the mining operation is progressive the mine requires many wells to be drilled and extraction plants to be operated. These activities have the potential to impact surrounding residences, particularly as some drilling is required to occur 24 hours a day until completed.

Wilkinson Murray has undertaken numerous assessments of these operations and have utilised the prediction and assessment approach pioneered by company Principal Rob Bullen. One of the reasons that our client continues to use us for these assessments is the outstanding service that we provide. Often assessments of drilling activities need to be conducted within a very limited timeframe. On these projects, Wilkinson Murray have demonstrated time-and-again our commitment to meet the service requirements of the client.

ulan mine


AGL operate a coal seam gas project in Camden, NSW. At present the project consists of 130 wells, low pressure underground gas gathering lines and a gas plant. An extension of this project is proposed in the near future. Wilkinson Murray have been engaged at various stages of the project to undertake predictions and assessment of both operational and construction noise. We have also undertaken compliance monitoring. Because many of the gas wells are located in close proximity to residential receivers there was a need to reduce drilling noise emissions to facilitate drilling at night.

Wilkinson Murray advised the drilling team on potential mitigation options. After implementation of some of our recommendations Wilkinson Murray conducted a noise audit of the drill rig and a significant reduction was measured.

exeter quarry


When the Penrith Lakes Development Corporation was formed by a number of quarrying companies who were extracting gravel and sand from the Nepean River plains near Penrith, Wilkinson Murray was commissioned to carry out a noise assessment of the ongoing quarrying and processing operations.

Over the 30 year life of the development, Wilkinson Murray provided numerous updates to the assessment, advised the Corporation on methods of limiting the noise in the surrounding area and carried out ongoing noise monitoring. Following this, Wilkinson Murray provided assessment of the post-quarrying development for the area.





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