A group of residents have banded together to tackle their concerns with underground blasting in the Ballarat gold mine.
More than 100 people attended a community meeting on Wednesday night to discuss their fears, with a committee formed to take those issues to the gold mine, the City of Ballarat and the state government.
The gold mine lies 400 metres or more below Ballarat's streets with blasting used to break rocks and recover the gold ore.
Resident Allan Peach said he was staggered by the turnout at the meeting.
"There's a lot of passion and a lot of concern in how people's lives are being affected by the mine," he said.
"They wanted to get independent monitoring so we've got our own data to look at because even though the gold mine supplies monitors, we just want to make sure the data is accurate.
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"Concern was raised about structural damage to houses and if the continual blasting can affect your house. Some people are saying they've had damage to the houses and how do we determine whether that's caused by the blasting or not?
"It's been going on for long enough and the community's fed up. They would just like to see something getting done about it."
The mine stretches from Mount Pleasant in the south and runs underground to the Ballarat CBD. It is split into four mining areas, Llanberris, Canton, Sovereign and Normanby.
Those that attended the meeting are hoping the level and frequency of the blasting will be reduced.
The mine, operated by the Golden Point Group, conducts two types of blasts. Stope blasts are used to break the rock to transport it to the surface for processing while the smaller development firings are used to advance the tunnels towards the gold deposits.
State government regulations strictly define the amount of vibrations blasts can make at ground level. The company said it was operating well within those thresholds.
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Paul Carter from the Golden Point Group's environment and community team said the blasts were carefully designed by a team of engineers to be only as large or as small as needed.
"It's not as simple to say make a blast smaller, each blast is designed depending on the ore body that's there that needs to be accessed and there's a team of blast engineers that work on that," he said.
"Hypothetically, if you took a blast and just made it smaller and it wasn't designed for that ore body, you can get things like where the ore body freezes, some of it comes down and that creates unsafe working conditions for people that are working in there."
Mr Carter said the blasting could not damage homes at their current levels which were only up to a fifth of what could cause structural damage, according to third party reports.
"We are subject to audits by ERR, which is a government agency, and they manage our mining license," he said.
Mr Peach said the community hoped to have further consultation with the mine regarding the blasting.
"Some people were very angry that nothing's getting done and they get fobbed off and their complaints aren't viewed as serious, or they're not respected and they're not answered," he said.
"There's another meeting in probably a month where we'll be inviting representatives from council and the government department and the mine to come speak to us and perhaps talk to us about what's going on and if there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
"A line has been drawn in the sand and we're going to do it in a fair and reasonable manner. We're about modifying what's going on and working with the mine to resolve it."
Mr Carter said Golden Point Group already conducted community consultation, including meetings, letter drops and text messages.
"We have quarterly Environmental Review Committee meetings, which members of the community are enrolled in," he said
"Earlier in the year, we put out a notice about our current blasting campaign which was in the Llanberris compartment. That was sent out to everyone on our list, within the ERC community and also made available on our website."
Mr Peach said the group did not want to see the mine closed, but just its operations altered.
"Everyone's got a right to make a living but when it affects your way of life, then there has to be a common ground or a middle ground that we can work out that everyone's happy," he said.
Earth Resources Regulation executive director Anthony Hurst said the agency was aware of community concerns surrounding the mine.
"We've reviewed the mine's monitoring data and blasting is currently compliant with the regulated requirements for the mine," he said.
"Recent mining activities at the mine are in an area that is closer to surface, which can result in increased noise and vibration, than when mining activities are further from the surface.
"We're working with Ballarat Gold Mine to increase their focus on blasting impacts, especially when working closer to the surface and will take action if blasting exceeds approved limit."
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