By Andy Hatton
Nearly everyone involved in a recent survey of residents have identified a noise nuisance from the Martha Mine but only two say they want the mine shut down.
Information gathered in the Waihi Advocacy Services survey in 2001 has been collated.
Over 50 people from 21 streets have participated with the predominantly effected area Roycroft Street, Newman Street, Slevin Street, Moresby Avenue and Walmsley Road. Residents in Buller Street, Donnelly Street, Mataura Road, Moore Street, Knowles Crescent, Featon Road and even Margaret Street have also filled in forms
One from Brickfield Road, filled in before the evacuation, identifies house movement and cracks in concrete paving.
Almost all (49) cite noise nuisance with dust and blasting vibrations a predominant concern.
Thirty-eight homes have a problem with dust with a need for continual cleaning of homes both inside and out.
Thirty-four residents want to see blasting levels reduced so as not to shake their homes on a regular basis.
Worries about property devaluation and the likelihood of being able to sell affect 34 people and seven have already found their homes unsaleable. Three have been told by real estate agents that it is due to their proximity to the mine. Seven want their houses bought and feel the company should be obligated to buy their homes.
Twenty seven have health concerns with breathing difficulties, coughs, stress and sore eyes, 42 have laid complaints with Waihi Gold or the council, 21 have reported cracking, seven of them specifically wanted the damages fixed, 12 say they want the company’s hours of operation reduced, nine believe they have house and ground movement, nine were irritated by night noise i.e. maintenance. Four complained about noise and dust from the tailings disposal area, three people want council installed monitors for noise and blasting, Two people want to see the consents revisited and compensation for loss of quality of life, two people want to see the mine closed and one wants LIMS reports to show intended mining activities.
In some areas the noise is reported as being constant, intolerable and intrusive especially with the hours of operations. 6 days a week, 12 hrs per day. Council records show the mine is regularly operating on and, occasionally over, the maximum limits allowed by the consents. Some had laid official complaints but most did not realize they could complain to council. All were skeptical that it would make any difference
Dust is also a nuisance all around the pit, depending on the weather conditions, with residents as far away as Banks Street heavily affected.
Several homes had obvious cracks and reported movement during blasting. On occasions when monitors were installed, readings showed blasts within the consent limits. Many did not think it was worth putting their houses on the market.
Collette Spalding and Peter Joyce from Waihi Advocacy Services met recently with Waihi Gold resident manager David Ingle and staff members Doreen McLeod and Linda Willoughby. Russell Street resident and sound expert Dick Bing and Günter Bobsien from Ohinemuri Earthwatch, were also present.
The company out lined the progress they had made on issues raised at a meeting in November. They have undertaken a number of measures to help keep their operations more environmentally friendly.
Noise was being assessed by consultants, particularly truck noise, conveyer belt, and jaw crusher areas. One truck has had baffles installed and will also be lagged with extra material in an attempt to lessen noise further. Several alternate systems have been trailed to replace the reversing beeper noise. With the mine manager assuring those present that possible high costs would not be an issue if he felt it would reduce noise substantially.
Dust has been collected from a Slevin St property and sent away for analysis. The results would take several weeks to be returned but were believed to have high organic matter.
A blasting expert was visiting Waihi Gold and offered some advice for new trials to reduce blasting vibrations for residents.
Collette Spalding says residents will be re-surveyed in about three months time to see how well the company’s mitigation measures have worked.
There were 61 surveys returned from 21 streets
1. There are 49 affected by noise,
concerned with the length of time it operates and they
9 were irritated by night noise i.e. maintenance also want to see noise reduced
2. 38 have a problem with dust. Want to see it reduced, continual cleaning of homes both inside and out
3. 34 blasting vibrations and want to see blasting levels reduced so as not to shake their homes on a regular basis
4. 34 worried about devaluation of their property and the likelihood of being able to sell it, seven already have found their homes unsaleable, three told by real estate agents that it is due to their proximity to the mine. Seven want their houses bought, feel the company should be obligated to buy their homes.
5. 27 have health concerns, breathing difficulties, coughs, stress and sore eyes
have complained to Waihi GM Company to Doreen McLeod
42 complaints laid to both
7. 17 have complained to the council
8. 21 homes have reported cracking, seven of them specifically wanted the damages fixed
9.Twelve say they want the company’s hours of operation reduced.
10. Nine believe they have house and ground movement.
10. Four complained about noise and dust from the tailings disposal area
11. Three people want council installed monitors for noise and blasting.
12.Two people want to see the mine closed
13. Two people want to see the consents revisited and compensation for loss of quality of life.
14. One wants LIMS reports to show intended mining activities.
Waihi Gold Company has indicated that they are in the process of experimenting with several options that will help reduce affects.
We will re-survey residents in
three months from now to see if any of the measures they
have taken have improved residents