New standard rehabilitation conditions on mining leases
We are improving compliance and reporting requirements to ensure progressive rehabilitation occurs and sustainable post-mining land use outcomes are achieved.
New regulations for mining rehabilitation
We are improving compliance and reporting requirements for rehabilitation through an amendment to the Regulation under the Mining Act 1992, which prescribes new mining lease conditions relating to rehabilitation and sets clear, achievable and enforceable requirements for rehabilitation.
The Regulation commenced on 2 July 2021. The new standard rehabilitation conditions will apply to all new mining leases issued from this date. For mining leases that were in force before this date, the conditions apply for large mines1 on 2 July 2022 and for small mines2 on 2 July 2023. These new rehabilitation conditions will replace existing rehabilitation and environmental management conditions on current leases.
New mining lease conditions
The new standard conditions will apply to all mining leases. The conditions support best practice mine site rehabilitation by ensuring progressive rehabilitation occurs in a manner that achieves sustainable final land uses following the completion of mining.
Lease holders will be required to demonstrate that the rehabilitation of land and water disturbed by mining is safe and stable and can support the future final land use(s) approved through the development consent. Lease holders will be required to:
- prevent or minimise harm to the environment
- rehabilitate land and water as soon as reasonably practicable after disturbance occurs
- achieve the approved final land use for the mining area as set out in the:
- rehabilitation objectives statement
- rehabilitation completion criteria statement
- final landform and rehabilitation spatial plan (large mines only)
- undertake a rehabilitation risk assessment and implement measures to eliminate, minimise or mitigate risks to achieving the final land use
- prepare and implement a rehabilitation management plan (large mines only)
- prepare an annual rehabilitation report which describes the progress of rehabilitation over the annual reporting period
- prepare a forward program which includes the schedule of mining and rehabilitation activities for the next three years demonstrating how rehabilitation will occur as soon as reasonably practicable after disturbance.
Mining Amendment (Standard Conditions of Mining Leases—Rehabilitation) Regulation 2021
Form and Way
The new mining lease conditions specify that documents must be prepared and (where relevant) given to the Secretary in a ‘form’ and ‘way’ approved by the Secretary (clause 9 in Schedule 8A). The 'form and way' documents below set out these requirements:
- Form and Way: Rehabilitation Management Plan (large mines) (PDF, 998.51 KB)
- Form and Way: Annual Rehabilitation Report and Forward Program (small mines) (PDF, 610.36 KB)
- Form and Way: Annual Rehabilitation Report and Forward Program (large mines) (PDF, 714.75 KB)
- Form and Way: Rehabilitation objectives and rehabilitation completion criteria for small mines (PDF, 378.99 KB)
- Form and Way: Rehabilitation objectives, rehabilitation completion criteria and final landform and rehabilitation plan for large mines (PDF, 523.27 KB).
The following resources have been prepared to assist lease holders understand and meet their obligations. The guidance material does not provide additional mandatory requirements.
- Guideline: Rehabilitation risk assessment (PDF, 1.36 MB)
- Guideline: Rehabilitation records (PDF, 1.18 MB)
- Guideline: Rehabilitation controls (PDF, 12.72 MB)
- Guideline: Mine rehabilitation portal (PDF, 1.05 MB)
- Guideline: Rehabilitation objectives and rehabilitation completion criteria (PDF, 777.29 KB)
- Guideline: Achieving rehabilitation completion (sign-off) (PDF, 12.75 MB)
- Frequently Asked Questions: Implementation for large mines (PDF, 324.7 KB)
- Fact sheet: 'Reasonably practicable' for mine rehabilitation (PDF, 164.78 KB)
- Fact sheet: New standard rehabilitation conditions on mining leases (PDF, 727.2 KB)
- Fact sheet: Transitioning to the new rehabilitation conditions on mining leases (PDF, 282.66 KB)
Guidance material for small mines (only applies until 2 July 2023)
The new standard mining lease conditions outlined in Schedule 8A of the Mining Regulation 2016 will only apply to small mines on 2 July 2023. Until this time small mines will be required to comply with their existing mining lease conditions, including those relating to Mining Operations Plans and Annual Reports. The guidance material below should be used by small mines up until 2 July 2023.
Mine Rehabilitation Portal
The standard mining conditions require large mines to lodge a 'final landform and rehabilitation plan' and ‘annual rehabilitation report and forward program’ spatial plans via the Mine Rehabilitation (GIS) Portal. Guideline: Mine rehabilitation portal (PDF, 1.05 MB)provides information on the data preparation and submission requirements via the mine rehabilitation portal. Guidance material and training videos can be found on our Mine Rehabilitation Portal webpage.
The Mine Rehabilitation (GIS) Portal is an online portal that allows for the collection of rehabilitation spatial data into a centralised geodatabase. The portal allows mining companies to submit, analyse and report on their rehabilitation activities in a more streamlined way as well as accurately record and track areas of disturbance and rehabilitation progress. The portal also assists us to monitor and regulate rehabilitation requirements for mining activities.
The spatial information submitted to the portal will eventually replace the requirement to supply this information in hardcopy formats.
The reforms apply to all new mining leases. Recognising the need for the industry to prepare for the new requirements, existing mining leases will have 12 months (large mines) and 24 months (small mines) from the date the Regulation commences to fully comply with the reforms.
Book your engagement session
Over the next 12 months (for large mines) and 24 months (for small mines) we will be engaging with mines to assist them. This will ensure we have active dialog with industry about our expectations for compliance and enable us to assist industry with meeting the new requirements. If you would like to arrange an engagement session please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leaseholders will be contacted to advise how to align reporting dates with the reporting dates required by other agencies.
Workshops and training
Webinar: Issues with submission of forecast disturbance and rehabilitation spatial data - September 2022
We have been reviewing spatial data that has been submitted by mining companies under the new provisions of Schedule 8A of the Mining Regulation 2016. As part of our review, we have identified issues with the submission of forecast data that has implications for the progressive mining and rehabilitation statistics that are being calculated in the Forward Program (including the rehabilitation key performance indicators). The purpose of this webinar was to discuss these issues with industry and explain the solutions that need to be implemented to ensure that spatial data is submitted correctly and that rehabilitation statistics accurately reflect what is forecast for each mine.
A recording of the webinar held on 8 September 2022 can be found on our YouTube channel.
Webinars: New standard conditions on mining leases - June 2022
To support the implementation of the new standard conditions for rehabilitation and the soft launch of the new online forms we hosted 3 webinars on the 28, 29 and 30 June.
- provided an overview of the rehabilitation reforms
- provided the legal and operational context for each of the new online forms, including how they are to be completed in sequence
- provided a demonstration of the Mine Rehabilitation Portal.
A recording of the 29 June 2022 session can be found on our YouTube channel.
Mine Rehabilitation Portal Workshops - 2021
To assist industry to transition to the reforms and ensure the compatibility of rehabilitation spatial data, a series of webinars were held to demonstrate the functionality of the Mine Rehabilitation Portal and requirements for the development of the associated spatial data schemas.
The webinar covered covered the following topics:
- Mine Rehabilitation Portal overview
- creating the required datasets
- submission requirements
- reporting capabilities
- integration with the Regulator Portal.
A recording of the 10 August sessions can be found on the Mine Rehabilitation Portal page.
NSW Mine Rehabilitation Forum 2021
More than 300 people attended the 2021 NSW Mine Rehabilitation Forum, which was held online on 8 September 2021.
It was a fantastic opportunity for the Regulator, industry and the wider community to share experiences, lessons learned and promote leading practice in mine rehabilitation. Click here to view the program (PDF, 727.86 KB).
The day covered the implementation of the new compliance and reporting reforms for mine rehabilitation and new regulations under the Mining Act 1992. Participants also heard from industry representatives who are leading the way in progressive rehabilitation practices and discussed the Regulator's Targeted Assessment Programs (TAPs) over the last two years which have focussed on tailings management, soil and material management, as well as landform establishment.
A recording of the webinar is now available.
Thank you to the all of the speakers who presented at the Forum. The day was an overwhelming success, with early feedback indicating the event will become an annual fixture for years to come.
For further information regarding the compliance and reporting reforms, contact us on:
1300 814 609 or email@example.com
1 Large mine means a mine the subject of one or more mining leases, the carrying out of activities under at least one of which requires an environment protection licence (EPL) under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
2 Small mine means a mine that is not a large mine.