Abbreviations used below:

  • EP — Extraction Plan
  • SMP — Subsidence Management Plan
  • DC — A development consent or project approval issued under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 relating to the mining operations subject to the lease
  • R&E — Division of Resources & Energy
  • DPE — Department of Planning & Environment

When did the recent changes come into effect? 

Changes to the Subsidence Management Lease Condition came into effect on 1 July 2014. You can read more about the new Extraction Plan condition and Instrument of Amendment PDF[150 KB PDF].

What is the status of SMP applications currently under assessment?

R& will continue to process SMP applications received on or before 31 December 2014 and, where appropriate, will grant SMP approvals. 

Can an applicant who already has an EP approved under a DC withdraw their SMP application?

Yes. If a lease holder has an EP that has been approved in accordance with the conditions of a relevant DC, and a copy of that EP has been provided to the Secretary, then the lease holder may withdraw a pending SMP application and simply use the EP approved under the DC.

With existing SMPs do the conditions of approval still apply?

Yes.  The new EP lease condition makes provision for SMPs to continue to have effect.  This means that lease holders are required to continue to comply with any approved SMPs and their approval conditions.

What happens where a mine has both an EP approved by DPE and an SMP approved by R&E in place?

Where a lease holder has both an approved EP and approved SMP in place, they are required to comply with both approvals.

If a lease holder does not want to continue to comply with both approvals, they can ask R&E to consider revoking the SMP approval.  Lease holders who would like to investigate having an SMP approval revoked should contact the Subsidence Executive Officer to discuss their particular situation.

Is it still necessary for lease holders to obtain approval of their EP before commencing first workings?

Previously, SMP approval was required prior to the development of roadways that will potentially lead to subsidence. The new EP lease doesn't specify the need for such approval.

A DC issued by DPE for a mining operation entitles the operator to extract the resource in accordance with DC conditions. In most cases a DC permits the mining of first workings without requiring further approvals. 

The new EP lease condition sits alongside the DC conditions and, in relation to first workings, has the following effect:

  • It stipulates that approval of an EP is required for any underground mining operation that may cause subsidence. This includes first workings that in themselves may cause subsidence.
  • In developing first workings, lease holders will still need to consider whether they will be able to effectively manage the subsidence risks of secondary extraction, particularly before locking in the secondary extraction mining layout. This is because the new EP lease condition may effectively prohibit a leaseholder from carrying out secondary extraction, if the subsidence risks of that extraction cannot be effectively managed.

Therefore a lease holder will be required to obtain approval of their EP if their first workings may in themselves cause subsidence and may also consider it prudent to obtain an EP approval before all first workings to minimize the risk of not being able to carry out secondary extraction.

Some mines don't currently have an EP Condition on their DCs. What should they do?

Lease holders in this situation should submit a SMP to the Secretary on or before 31 December 2014. If absolutely necessary, R&E may consider amending the conditions of a mining lease to provide an extension to this date.

What should lease holders do if they propose to undertake first workings that may cause subsidence?

Some DCs don't currently require DPE approval for first workings which may subside the surface. Lease holders in this situation should submit a SMP to the Secretary on or before 31 December 2014. If absolutely necessary, R&E may consider amending the conditions of a mining lease to provide an extension to this date.

Read more about the new Extraction Plan condition and Instrument of Amendment.