2nd July 2018

The Resources Regulator has accepted an Enforceable Undertaking proposal from Ridgelands Coal Resources Pty Ltd over their handling of a local community fund, raising an extra $200,000 in the process.

The Regulator investigated the company for an alleged breach of the Mining Act. It is alleged Ridgelands failed to establish a $5 million community fund as soon as reasonably practical, which was a condition of the five-year term of Exploration Licence 8064.

The investigation resulted in the delivery of the required $5 million into a trust, which has now been fully distributed across 36 Muswellbrook projects including a swimming pool, childcare centre, pony club camp and three community halls.

In addition, the Regulator’s investigation secured another $200,000, which will also be made available to the community fund for more projects providing an economic, social or environmental benefit.

The work of the Regulator has also improved the transparency and governance of the fund’s Investment Committee, which now includes a representative from council, two from the local community and two from the company.

Projects can now be approved by a majority vote of the Committee, with Ridgelands no longer having a veto over committee decision-making and the council member and two community members able to form a majority.

The company is also required to spend $5000 on training staff to meet compliance obligations, $2000 for the Regulator’s compliance monitoring costs, and just under $30,000 for the Regulator’s investigation and legal costs.

An enforceable undertaking is a legally binding agreement and any failure by the company to comply can lead to maximum $1.1 million penalty.

To view a copy of Ridgelands approved undertaking, please visit the Resources Regulator website.