Mining can be a dangerous business. Exploiting resources is generally massive, frequently involved in the alteration of entire landscapes. As therefore, requires careful planning for the assessment and reduction of any dangers that could arise. Noise is among those unavoidable hazards on mine sites and can cause numerous problems, such as the degrading of hearing in workers and the disturbance of whole communities.
Mining noise control can originate from many sources throughout a mine and can be a challenge to control. The culprit could be processing facilities, machinery, blasting, traffic or anything else, a mine site can be a constant source in noise-related pollution. With a little planning and foresight the negative effects that can occur as due to mine-produced sound pollution can be reduced and effectively managed.
Why Reducing Mining Noise Is Critical
There are many reasons noise control at mine sites cannot be ignored, such as:
1. Regulation measures
It’s the law. Similar to the building industry noise has to be controlled and reduced to a minimum to not disturb the surrounding communities or the animal population.
The design and forecast of noise generated by mining should be included as part of an overall Environmental Impact Assessment (see below) and should also include noise reduction efforts.
2. Worker safety
There’s no reason to be able to not take active steps to reduce the health and safety dangers posed by continuous exposure to noise. Mining workers who spend several weeks, days or even months wandering around the site amid the many dangersome noise sources commonly found at mines. Hearing loss caused by noise can be an enormous economic cost.
3. Maintaining good public relations
The most productive mines are usually less visible. It is easier to manage and follow through to completion if the other people are satisfied and not disturbed. A private and quiet website helps the team in public relations’ task much simpler and leads to happier third parties and, in the end the most cost-effective process.
The impact of noise on potential mining operations is the basis in any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). An EIA gives stakeholders important details about the possible environmental and health risks posed by the construction of the mine and strategies to reduce these risks, while taking into consideration the feasibility of the mining plan.
These risks and threats threaten the loss of habitat Surface water and groundwater quality pollution, erosion, air quality soil quality, and the social ramifications of these risks, such as congestion on the roads, cost-benefit and, of course noise pollution.
Who is Affected by Mining Noise?
Due to their proximity to the noise sources, miners are most at risk of exposure to noise at the mine. Certain mines are located they are not causing harm to the general population however, workers will always come into the firing line.
The effects on health of noise exposure have for a long time been studied, especially in workplace settings. The research suggests that at around 85-90 dB exposure to noise that is not protected can cause permanent hearing loss The louder the sound is, the less time exposure is able to be withstand. For instance, OSHA (the Operational Safety & Health Administration) has set the maximum exposure recommended to 85 dBA over an eight-hour time-weighted mean without hearing protection. However, at the level of 115 dBA, an individual is able to endure fifteen minutes without sustaining irreparable hearing loss.
Echo Barrier noise wall is fairly simple to put together to attain a significant level in noise reduction.
Echo Barriers are a new kind of acoustic barrier that is designed for industrial work sites which are effective even in extreme weather conditions and site conditions. They are modular in design and they are a portable noise-control solution that combines the light weight of their materials with guaranteed durability (for water, fire UV, smoke resistance) and acoustic performance to deliver the most advanced noise mitigation technology across mines.
Echo Barriers absorb up to 100% of airborne sound energy (around 400 Hz and higher) and provide up to 30 dB noise reduction from mining noise (with the possibility of 43 dB reduction). When installed, they can be double-layered in order to reduce noise.
Low Frequency Noise & Vibration
Acoustic barriers, however, do not have the best results in cutting down the noise that is below 400Hz. This requires an item with significantly more mass. Even the lower levels of frequencies can be transmitted in noise from structures (between 20 Hz to 200 Hz) and is impossible to eliminate using engineering methods and must be addressed using a well-planned operation management.
Accurately Monitoring Mining Noise Control
Due to the strict regulations pertaining to noise to mining operations, the implementation of precise noise monitoring on the mining site is crucial for legal compliance, as per the project’s approvals and applicable legislation. It is helpful to sketch out the Noise and Vibration Management strategy is a great illustration from Austar.
There are two primary kinds of noise monitoring methods that must be employed together for the most accurate assessment of the impact of noise on mines.
Attended Noise Monitoring
This technique allows for the most precise estimation of the contribution of particular mining operations to noise level overall. This could happen every month and is crucial to determining compliance.
Mines are typically away from the public eye and away from the eye and hearing. However, those located closer to the city can be a nuisance with their constant roar around the clock, which can cause disturbance in the daily lives of people who live in the area. Noise pollution can trigger anxiety, stress, and cause difficulty to focus, and may affect the physical, cognitive, and behavioural development of children.
These small stakeholders are not considered often. A massive project could eliminate entire populations of animal species. And this is before taking into account the wide-ranging impacts of noise on local biodiversity.
The sound of mines that are in use could affect animals’ ability to detect the presence of predators, leading to increased kill rates and a reduced numbers. The noise may also trigger forced movement of species, which can cause imbalances of the ecology.
Employers are bound by a duty of taking care to create a work environment that is as much as is feasible, free of hazards that could cause noise as well as the prevention of hearing loss among employees but also being indiscreet for the public. Inability to provide the best conditions for all parties involved can be expensive for mining companies with negative publicity or project delays and in litigation.
Engine Enclosure & Cabin Soundproofing
As mentioned previously that large vehicles emit an alarming amount of sound emissions. A large portion of this is due to the engine compartment in the vehicle. Acoustic material is a good choice to cover the interior of the vehicle. In the motor enclosure, vent silencers to block out the sound close to the source, while protecting the operator of the vehicle and other sound receivers on site.
The efficiency of soundproofing of the enclosure will depend on the material chosen and also how airtight the enclosure is (some air space should be present to ensure sufficient cooling for the engine).