THE STATE'S pollution watchdog has issued two remediation notices to Fosterville's gold miners after concluding a mysterious and irritating sound is coming from their operations.
Residents living near the Kirkland Lake Gold operation have been complaining for about a year about a "low frequency noise", along with a general increase in sound from the mine.
The Environmental Protection Authority says it has been conducting "extensive" noise monitoring operations and has now ordered miners to conduct a "targeted" investigation into noise sources on site.
It has also told miners to consider if there are any ways to reduce the effects of the sound beyond the mine's boundaries.
It is still not clear what the source of the noise is, the mine's general manager Lance Faulkner said.
"The EPA's asked us to investigate potential sources of low frequency noise," he said.
"We've started to undertake that."
The mine has already commissioned two other studies to work out where the noise might be coming from. They concluded the noise was within prescribed regulatory mine limits.
The new investigation will look specifically at noise that falls within a frequency of 16 and 20, Mr Faulkner said.
Finding the source of the noise that is irritating neighbours is difficult in part because so many things emit low frequency sound, he said.
"It's a common component of everyday environments. In your office, where you're working now, you will have low frequency noise," Mr Faulkner said.
"Every household has got low frequency noise."
The EPA told the company its investigation not to focus on any one particular area the sound might be coming from, Mr Faulkner said.
It had suggested taking a fresh look at ventilation systems that the mine uses to pump air in and out from underground, particularly around the area the system surfaced.
An EPA spokesperson said the authority regarded noise from the mine as an "evolving issue".
"EPA has now ordered Fosterville Gold Mine to cease operating its surface drill rigs in the southern part of the mine during the hours of 22:00 to 07:00," they said.
"EPA is continuing to work through the matter with Kirkland Gold to ensure the effects of low frequency noise on the local community is remediated."
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