She made the warning after the Environmental Protection Authority launched Operation Dust Patrol, which is targeting the Hunter Valley coal industry.
"In particular, mines must take extra care during harsh dry weather conditions to prevent dust affecting the surrounding communities," Upton said.
"The current dry drought conditions, especially on windy days, mean that mines should be taking extra precautions to control the amount of dust generated on site.
"These precautions could include not transporting or dumping as much earth, watering exposed stockpiles, delaying blasting until calmer weather or ceasing operations altogether."
Upton said if mines were caught out breaching regulations or not taking extra care on windy days, the EPA would take action.
"All mines operate under strict licensing conditions and they are required to minimise dust levels," she said.
"Making sure mines do this is a priority for the NSW Government.
"The strict operating conditions are there to protect and safeguard the community and the environment and any mine that does not properly control its dust can face fines of up to $1 million.
"People living near mines should be protected by tough regulations and mine operators have a duty at law to improve their environmental performance."