01 Apr 2021

NSW Government releases six guidelines to support mine rehabilitation reforms

By Claire Smith, Caitlin McJannett

Mining companies seeking to stay up-to-date with the NSW Government's rehabilitation reforms need to be aware that six guidelines have now been released and are open for public comment.

In October 2020, Clayton Utz reported that the NSW Government was seeking feedback on the Mining Amendment (Standard Conditions of Mining Leases - Rehabilitation) Regulation 2020 which will prescribe new standard mining lease conditions relating to mine rehabilitation through amending the Mining Regulation 2016.  Subsequently, the consultation period closed on 6 November 2020, and the NSW Government has published the submissions received and a summary of its response to the issues raised.

Now, the NSW Government has released six draft guidelines to assist mining lease holders with the changes to the new standard mining lease conditions. The Guidelines do not contain any additional mandatory requirements.

The topics covered in the Guidelines include:

  • Guideline 1: requirements for carrying out of a rehabilitation risk assessment that is required a condition of a mining lease.
  • Guideline 2:types of rehabilitation records that should be kept and maintained;
  • Guideline 3: identifying and evaluating the rehabilitation processes, controls and techniques that should be considered for rehabilitation management;
  • Guideline 4: requirements/form of spatial data and the steps to be followed to upload spatial data to the proposed mine rehabilitation portal;
  • Guideline 5: rehabilitation objectives and completion criteria; and
  • Guideline 6: verification of rehabilitation completion before mining lease relinquishment.

What does this mean for mining companies?

Mining companies should review the Guidelines and consider whether to make a written submission before the public consultation period ends on 30 April 2021.

More generally, mining companies should also familiarise themselves with the new conditions that will be imposed on mining leases, as well as the Guidelines, to assist in the transition to the new mining lease conditions and ensure compliance.

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Disclaimer

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.