Mine subsidence is deformation and/or displacement of the ground and any surface or subsurface features caused by underground coal mining operations.

Regulation of mine subsidence

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that the mining industry meets strict contemporary standards. The management of subsidence related to underground coal mining operations is a key focus of the government's regulatory oversight:

  • Coal mining operations require development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The environmental impacts of subsidence from these operations are assessed and approved under the Part 4 state significant development process. The views of the community and other government agencies are taken into account during the assessment process.
  • Modern development consents are subject to conditions requiring submission to and approval by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) of an extraction plan which describes how subsidence impacts will be managed to meet the requirements of the development consent.
  • The extraction plan is assessed by relevant agencies who provide advice to the DPIE as to the adequacy of the plan.
  • Extraction plans approved by DPIE must then be implemented by the proponent as a requirement of both the development consent and mining lease.

One plan, joint regulators

From 1 July 2014, the department’s former subsidence management plan process was replaced by a consolidated extraction plan process. This provides for the joint regulation of mine subsidence under a single extraction plan.

  • The DPIE is responsible for compliance and enforcement of the extraction plan so far as it relates to the development consent.
  • The NSW Resources Regulator is responsible for compliance and enforcement of the extraction plan so far as it relates to requirements under the Mining Act 1992 and relevant safety legislation. This role principally relates to workplace safety, public safety, rehabilitation and resource recovery requirements.

Rather than approving future extraction plans, the NSW Resources Regulator advises the DPIE in its approval process. The Regulator will also be able to direct or take other compliance actions to require lease holders to amend deficient plans. Any compliance actions undertaken by the NSW Resources Regulator will be in the context of rehabilitation and safety legislative requirements only

See Frequently asked questions or read the new extraction plan condition.

Guidelines and reference material

  1. New mining lease extraction plan condition The new mining lease extraction plan condition replaced the former subsidence management plan condition on coal mining leases from 1 July 2014.
  2. Applications for subsidence management approvals The EDG17 guideline is no longer relevant to future applications for extraction plan approvals under the amended mining lease condition. It is available for the preparation of subsidence management plans, a requirement of some development consents and for ongoing compliance of existing subsidence management plan approvals for the term of that approval.
  3. Guidelines for the preparation of extraction plans The existing EDG17 guidelines (which relate to subsidence management plans) and draft extraction plan guidelines (unpublished) are intended to be replaced with a single revised extraction plan guideline covering the regulatory requirements of both the DPIE and the NSW Resources Regulator. These guidelines will provide further clarity as to the approval process and regulatory responsibilities of each agency. Pending publication of the revised guideline, please contact by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment on 1300 305 695.

Notices of determination

For access to individual subsidence management plans or extraction plans, please contact the Regulator on 1300 814 609 or nswresourcesregulator@service-now.com

Exploration, geological and mining information, including subsidence management plans approved before 2020, can be accessed via the DIGS DatabaseClick here for information on how to use DIGS.