Declared Mines – Mineral Industries Amendment Regulations 2022
The Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019 were amended in 2022 to include amended regulations for Declared Mines. The amendment regulations commenced on 30 September 2022.
The Regulations were amended to prescribe certain matters concerning:
- declared mine rehabilitation plans to provide for adequate rehabilitation planning and activities to manage potential risks posed by declared mine land for the closure of a mine on declared mine land,
- determinations to provide for the closure of mines on declared mine land and support informed decision-making to ensure that rehabilitation meets legislative objectives and provides a clear and transparent decision-making process, and
- registration to provide for declared mine land to be registered and the recording of information and risks about declared mines, supporting fair determinations of contributions to the Declared Mine Fund.
The provisions enable government, mining operators, the community and other stakeholders to make decisions relating to declared mine land and the risks and liability of those land sites.
The amended Regulations are made under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 and are required to enable changes to the Act introduced by the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Amendment Act 2019 (the Amendment Act).
The regulations have been shaped by public input provided through the Regulatory Impact Statement process.
The amended Regulations only apply to declared mines. Currently Victoria has three declared mines: Hazelwood, Loy Yang and Yallourn. These Latrobe Valley coal mines have been declared due to the scale and complexity of the risks they posed to the environment, infrastructure and public safety.
All quarries and mines that have not been declared by the Minister for Resources under the Act.
The amended Regulations commenced on 30 September 2022. Declared mine operators have three years to develop and submit their initial declared mine rehabilitation plans from commencement of the Regulations.
The amended Regulations prescribe requirements for the rehabilitation of declared mine land, including:
- the preparation, consideration and approval of declared mine rehabilitation plans
- the preparation, consideration and approval of applications for a determination that closure criteria have been met
- the registration of declared mine land and
- the determination of contributions to the Declared Mine Fund.
- matters that must be contained in a declared mine rehabilitation plan
- consultations that must be undertaken in relation to a plan
- information that must be provided with an application for a closure determination
- processes to be followed and matters to be considered by the Minister for Resources in deciding whether or not to make a determination.
The amended Regulations require the development and application of more detailed rehabilitation plans in relation to declared mine land. This will allow the State to receive more comprehensive information about operators’ mine rehabilitation planning, and support more effective and transparent decision-making, with greater community engagement.
Declared Mine Rehabilitation Plans
The amended Regulations establish clearer decision-making processes on declared mine rehabilitation plan submissions and plan variations, the reporting on and assessment of rehabilitation activity against rehabilitation plans and matters concerning operator applications for a determination of mine closure. This will support operators to adequately plan for, undertake, and achieve rehabilitation to a land form that is safe, stable and sustainable.
Declared Mine Rehabilitation Plans must include the following (note this is not a full list of requirements):
- stakeholder engagement plan
- the proposed outcomes for land use and proposed post-mining land use
- matters concerning criteria for a determination of mine closure
- all the legal approvals and permissions required for the activities or outcomes in the Declared Mine Rehabilitation Plan
- rehabilitation risks and hazards
- outline of the roles and responsibilities of employees of the operator.
The amended Regulations introduce factors to be considered for the closure of declared mines to support informed decision-making and ensure that rehabilitation occurs. The closure criteria set out the measures and actions the operator must take to address and manage risks to public health and safety, the environment and infrastructure.
Registration of Declared Mine Land
Maintenance, monitoring and management of the declared mines will be required for a considerable period after the expected closure of the mines. The amended Regulations introduce the requirement for the Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority to establish and maintain a register of declared mine land so that relevant information can be captured appropriately over time.
Declared Mine Fund
A new Declared Mine Fund will be established to meet the ongoing costs associated with the post-closure management of declared mine land, or rehabilitation activity if the land is transferred to the Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority. The amended Regulations set out information that the Minister for Resources must consider in determining the amount of any rehabilitation bond to be paid into the Declared Mine Fund on the cancellation of the mining licence of a declared mine operator.
Specifically the amended Regulations state that the Minister must consider:
- the value of the future costs associated with the monitoring and maintenance obligations under the post-closure plan for the declared mine land; and
- the cost of rehabilitating the declared mine land after an adverse event.
Additional information including guidelines will be prepared to assist declared mine operators to meet their obligations under the amended regulations.
If you have a question, please contact the Assessments team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated: 12 Apr 2023