New regulations for mining rehabilitation

We are improving compliance and reporting requirements for rehabilitation through the development of a new regulation under the Mining Act 1992, which will replace mining lease conditions relating to rehabilitation and set clear, achievable and enforceable requirements for rehabilitation. This will ensure progressive rehabilitation occurs and sustainable post-mining land use outcomes are achieved.

The proposed amendment regulation will prescribe mining lease conditions relating to rehabilitation by amending the regulation under the Mining Act 1992 to improve clarity and enforceability of rehabilitation outcomes. The new standard mining lease conditions will apply to all mining leases and will support best practice mine site rehabilitation and help ensure NSW has a sustainable minerals industry.

The Mining Amendment (Standard Conditions of Mining Leases - Rehabilitation) Regulation 2020 and the Form and Way documents, which set out the mandatory requirements under the new conditions, along with a factsheet and frequently asked questions are published on our consultation webpage.

Submissions on the proposed amendments will close on 6 November 2020.

New mining lease conditions

Rehabilitation outcomes must be achieved by the lease holder who must demonstrate that the rehabilitation of land and water disturbed by mining is safe and stable and meets the rehabilitation obligations of the development consent. That is, the land can support the future land use approved by the development.

The mining lease conditions relating to rehabilitation have been reviewed to improve clarity and enforceability of rehabilitation outcomes.

Lease holders will be required to develop a rehabilitation management plan showing how they will achieve their rehabilitation outcomes. A forward program is also required to demonstrate the tactical approach to progressively achieving the outcomes. These will include undertaking rehabilitation risk assessment and management, developing detailed rehabilitation objectives, establishing completion criteria for specific areas and, for large mines, a final landform and rehabilitation plan which spatially depicts rehabilitation for each area.

Form and Way

The Mining Amendment (Standard Conditions of Mining Leases - Rehabilitation) Regulation 2020 specifies a series of Form and Way documents, which set out the mandatory requirements for how documents listed under the Regulation are required to be prepared and submitted. These include the following:

Guidelines

New guidelines will help lease holders understand and meet their obligations regarding conducting and maintaining rehabilitation risk assessments; keeping rehabilitation records; implementing rehabilitation risk controls; uploading rehabilitation data to the Rehabilitation Geographic Information System (GIS) Portal; preparing rehabilitation objectives and rehabilitation completion criteria; and achieving acceptance of rehabilitation completion.

Rehabilitation GIS Portal

The Rehabilitation GIS Portal is an online portal which allows for the collection of rehabilitation spatial data into a centralised geodatabase.

The portal is an Australian first and allows mining companies to submit, analyse and report on their rehabilitation activities in a more streamlined way. The portal also assists us to monitor and regulate rehabilitation requirements for mining activities.

Spatial information submitted to the portal will eventually replace the requirement to supply this information in hardcopy formats.

Mining companies can use the portal to accurately record and track areas of disturbance and check rehabilitation progress across individual sites.

Implementation

The reforms are intended to apply to all mining leases granted, renewed or transferred. Existing mining leases which do not require renewal will be transitioned. We recognise that the mining industry will need time to prepare and submit required documents, so a minimum 12-month transitional period is proposed from the date the Regulation commences in order to fully comply with the reforms.

Further information

For further information regarding the compliance and reporting reforms, contact us on:

1300 814 609 or rr.feedback@planning.nsw.gov.au

For queries regarding the Rehabilitation GIS Portal, contact us on: rehabilitation.projects@planning.nsw.gov.au