Victoria’s quarry and mine operators are benefitting from streamlined regulatory processes that have been put in place to manage low-risk operational changes.
Approvals and key decisions are on the rise, due to streamlined processes and better guidance for operators. This is enabling a booming earth resources to increase the processing of sand, stone and minerals, which are in high demand to build public infrastructure and affordable housing.
Two quarry approvals for Hanson sites near Kilmore will release over 20 million cubic metres of additional bluestone rock.
The existing Kilmore sites were part of a priority Hot List for targeted fast tracking that were featured in the Joint Ministerial Statement for Extractive Resources launched earlier this year.
Earth Resources Regulation recently launched its Statements of Operating Change for the minerals and quarry industries to ensure it enables the growth of the sector.
Operators now have the option to notify Earth Resources Regulation of basic operational changes without submitting a formal work plan variation for low-risk activities.
Up to 50 per cent of all operational plan approvals will now be fast-tracked through this process, saving operators the time and paperwork involved in preparing a work plan variation, while continuing to fulfil their regulatory obligations.
The regulator has now received 16 requests via the fast-tracked process.
Near Bacchus Marsh quarry operator, Boral, has benefitted from an approach which will see a new road constructed to aid production from two work authority sites.
On the minerals side, Victoria’s largest gold mine at Fosterville is benefitting from a simplified process to adjust their operations to aid the production of gold, estimated to grow this year to twice the amount produced in 2016.
The improvements that have been implemented by Earth Resources Regulation are a result of a review that was undertaken in 2017 by the Commissioner for Better Regulation, Anna Cronin.
Earth Resources Regulation is now making over 97% of decisions within statutory timeframes.
Earth Resources Regulation’s Executive Director Anthony Hurst said “We’ve had great feedback from quarry and mine operators but we are always keen to continue conversations about further improving approvals and management processes.”
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