How is mining regulated in Victoria?

The Resources branch of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions is responsible for regulating mining activities in Victoria.

We are responsible for enforcing, monitoring and managing compliance of mining activities under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA).

Under the MRSDA, the licence holder needs to meet specific conditions and provide an approved work plan.

The licence holder also has the duty to minimise environmental, health and safety impacts on the environment and the community.

If a mining operator breaches their licence conditions, Earth Resources Regulation may serve a Remedial Notice.

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Various other departments and agencies within the Victorian government have a level of regulatory responsibility for mining.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) role is to regulate pollution and it has independent authority to make regulatory decisions under the Environment Protection Act 1970.

The EPA may require action if a site is causing off-site pollution.

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria is responsible for enforcing Victoria's occupational health and safety laws and helping organisations avoid workplace injuries.

Local Government

Local Government in Victoria is responsible for implementing the Victorian Planning Provisions in their local government area

Shared responsibilities

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Earth Resources Regulation shares responsibilities with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to minimise the impact of mining and quarrying on the environment and community.

Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was established to develop and deliver policies, programs and services that support and enhance the wellbeing of all Victorians.

Earth Resources Regulation shares responsibilities with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide the community with information and health standards and possible adverse health effects.

The licence holder is responsible for conducting sampling and monitoring to assess if they comply with the mining licence conditions and work plan.

On rare occasions, we may conduct confirmation sampling to verify the findings of the licence holder.

A licence holder must provide the department with monitoring and reporting data that demonstrates compliance with the requirements of a mining licence.

The information is required to meet strict compliance reporting standards as outlined by both Victorian and Australian standards and guidelines.

As the regulator, we review information relating to compliance reporting to ensure that it meets the requirements set out in the mining licence and the work has been completed in line with appropriate standards and guidelines.

Sometimes we can ask an independent consultant to conduct a peer review or audit to verify findings and qualify any data concerns.

Earth Resources Regulation has employees with broad technical expertise about the environment and across the resource industry in Victoria.

In addition, the Earth Resources Regulation Technical Review Board (TRB) is a team of experts with international mining experience. The TRB provides strategic advice to Earth Resources Regulation  in the areas of mine and quarry stability, rehabilitation and other strategic risks.

As required, we will appoint independent specialists and subject matter experts to assist us when we need additional advice.

If an incident or compliance breach is reported to us about a mining activity, our inspectors will investigate.

The type of investigation we conduct and the conditions we enforce depends on the complexity and scale of the incident reported.

We have legal powers to regulate mining operations under the MRSDA in Victoria.

These powers include:

  • placing conditions on operations through licences
  • inspecting, auditing and investigating mining operations
  • issuing directions, and notices
  • taking enforcement action which can be fines or prosecution.

We may issue a notice to a licence holder who fails to comply with their licence conditions or provisions under the MRSDA.

Earth Resources Regulation can prosecute or financially penalise a licence holder who fails to comply with the actions outlined in a remedial notice.

There are recommended distances that should exist between industrial land uses (such as mines and quarries) and other more sensitive land uses such as residential areas where people live.

The EPA's Recommended Separation Distances for Industrial Residual Air Emissions – Guideline provides best practice advice to minimise the off-site impacts on sensitive land use.

Page last updated: 25 Jan 2023