Earth Resources Regulation welcomes the tabling today of the Rehabilitating Mines Audit report from the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO).
Earth Resources Regulation accepts the recommendations and will build on actions it has already taken to protect the community and environment from the risks associated with site rehabilitation, including financial liability.
As recognised by VAGO, Earth Resources Regulation has already taken serious and considerable steps to improve the way it regulates mine and quarry rehabilitation including contingency bonds. The audit confirms a range of issues and improvements identified through a 2018 review by the regulator.
Mine and quarry operators are obliged to rehabilitate their sites and fulfil their obligations to manage risks to public safety and the environment. Financial bonds are held to fund the rehabilitation of sites should a licensee default on their obligations.
In February 2020, the Regulatory Practice Strategy for the Rehabilitation of Earth Resources Sites was released to set clear expectations for site rehabilitation, addressing many of the issues highlighted by VAGO in audit.
The regulator is working with mine and quarry operators and co-regulators to overhaul the rehabilitation of sites and bonds, guided by the new strategy.
Earth Resources Regulation will adopt approaches that have delivered positive results in the way it assesses applications for mine and quarry work plans and ensures operators’ compliance.
Improvements to the legislation framework continue to be made for the rehabilitation of the state’s major coal mines, including the recent creation of the Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority.
Bonds totalling several hundred million dollars were set for each of the state’s coal mines in 2017. These will be reassessed and re-set once new rehabilitation plans are finalised for the two operational mines.
The regulator thanks VAGO for their work and assistance in improving regulatory outcomes associated with the mining and quarrying sectors. More detail about the steps being taken to improve site rehabilitation outcomes are available.
Earth Resources Regulation Executive Director Anthony Hurst said:“We welcome the Victorian Auditor-General’s recommendations and will work with site operators and co-regulators to build on the actions we have already taken to overhaul the regulation of mine and quarry rehabilitation.”
“Effective site rehabilitation underpins confidence in both the resources industry and the regulator – the commitments made upon approval of a project must be fulfilled when it is finished.”
“The safety of the Victorian community, and that of their local environment, is front and centre of everything we do.”
Read more Mining Safety News