Blast warning proves more intrusive than blast

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Newmont Waihi Gold. Martha Pit.
Newmont Waihi Gold. Martha Pit.

There was a small turnout for the Newmont Waihi Gold consultation meeting last Wednesday morning.

The second meeting in the series had about 18 members of the public present and dealt with noise, vibration and a presentation by the consultancy company responsible for preparing the Social Impact study and subsequent reports.

Newmont Waihi Gold environment manager, Kerry Watson gave an update/overview of the Correnso Project as way of introduction to the meeting before handing over to NWG external affairs manager Andrea Durie who dealt with noise management and vibration compliance for the past three months.

The development drive (underground road) was completed April 22 and had 163 blast events with the average vibration .60mm/s and the maximum 2.9mm/s.

The mine company has carried out six weeks of noise monitoring and is now doing periodic re-testing.

The dewatering and piezometer installations in Barry Rd (90m depth) and Gladstone Rd (78m) were spoken about along with the 50 extra settlement markers which have been installed and will be part of a six-monthly survey.

Ms Durie spoke about the blast notification trial where 22 homes had devices installed.
These devices, which operate on radio frequency, alerted home owners that a blast was about to happen and were supposed to alleviate the stress of a blast.

Ms Durie said the trial had mixed results with some people saying the monitor and warning was more intrusive than the actual blast.

Some had returned the device and there were presently 16 monitoring devices in homes.
An audience member said she had found it [blast notification device] distressing. She said when it went off when she was asleep it was like an alarm clock, jolting her awake.

Ms Durie said Gold FM was a partner with Newmont in the device monitoring system - as it used Gold FM's radio frequency.

Another audience member said he found it quite useful and a talking point with visitors.
AEP was spoken about.

There has been a total of $136,000 paid out to 335 recipients. Ms Durie explained the criteria for payment was solely worked out on the amount of vibration (as recorded by monitors) and was an automated result and not linked to how often people phoned Newmont to complain.

The Property Programme was outlined - stage two with 23 east Waihi properties given ex-gratis payments (five percent of their market value).

The next stage is for the start of the exploration drilling to ascertain the mine plan which will then give Newmont more definitive information about where the Correnso ore body lies and from this they can produce a mine plan and it will be clearer just which properties are eligible to be purchased by the company.

Ms Durie said there will be specific houses which will have a range of options given to the owners - purchase outright and owner leaves, purchase outright and owner stays and rents the property back from the company or top up, or AEP.

"The owners need to have all the dollar scenario to be able to make informed decisions."

She said the Property Group representatives along with Newmont will meet personally with the home owners and the Property Group will be responsible for managing the home owners decision and NWG's subsequent payout.

It is envisaged this could take three months and the final mine plan should be ready by August 4.

The consultants - Banarra - spoke about the social impact overview and that as a consent condition they would be trying to talk with a wide range of people from the Waihi community over the next six weeks.

The social impact assessment report would become public - after it was approved by Newmont and Hauraki District Council and the Banarra representative invited audience members to be part of it.

Ms Durie said the Iwi Advisory Group had been established and cultural awareness training for Newmont staff would also take place.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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