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A NSW Government website

Small mines and quarries

The small mines and quarries sector includes quarries, surface metalliferous, alluvial and gemstone mines as well as dredging operations.

Information for new quarry operators

I am a new quarry operator, what do I need to do?

If your quarry is a new site, you must inform the NSW Resources Regulator of the start of your mining operations.

Your site will fall under the jurisdiction of the NSW Resources Regulator for all Work Health and Safety (WHS) matters, not Safe Work NSW (Workcover). The following WHS legislation will apply to your site.

  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017
  • Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013
  • Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2022

Who is the operator of the mine?

You must identify and appoint the mine operator before starting mining operations. The mine operator is the company or individual who is conducting a business or undertaking, has the skills, knowledge, experience and resources to exercise the functions of the mine operator, and is authorised to have management or control of the mine and to discharge the duties of the mine operator under the WHS laws.

The mine holder is the person with the right to mine (e.g. landowner). The mine holder is the mine operator unless another person (generally a company) is appointed to be the mine operator.

Who is the quarry manager of the mine?

The statutory function of quarry manager is to supervise mining operations at the mine.

The mine operator must ensure that the mining operations are supervised by a quarry manager. The quarry manager must hold a current quarry manager practicing certificate and must always be available and capable of exercising the statutory function.

For further information see:

Practising certificate requirements for quarry managers.

Can I operate the mine while I apply for a quarry manager practising certificate?

A competent person can be nominated to supervise mining operations for a period of up to two months, in the absence of a qualified quarry manager being available.

Further information about a competent person as a quarry manager.

I have obtained my quarry manager practising certificate - what now?

It is the obligation of the mine operator to notify the Regulator of the nominated person who is exercising the statutory function at the mine. If two people on site have obtained a quarry manager practising certificate, only one person can be nominated.

Do I need a safety management system?

The mine operator must establish and implement a safety management system before mining operations take place. The safety management system must manage all aspects of risks to health and safety, in relation to the operation and have appropriate regard to the nature, complexity and location of the mining operations.

See further information below regarding:

What happens if something changes?

The mine operator must notify the Regulator of any proposed changes relating to the nominated mine operator, quarry manager or person nominated to exercise statutory functions.

Email with details of the changes.

Health and Safety at Quarries Guide

This guide gives practical advice on health and safety control measures at quarries. The guideline also applies to surface sand, gemstone and alluvial mines and dredging operations.

The guide has been produced mainly for mine operators, mine managers, other persons conducting a business or undertaking, workers and worker representatives. Workers, health and safety advisers, consultants and engineers may also find it helpful.

Health and Safety at Quarries Guide (PDF, 11.96 MB)

Note: This document is designed to guide and assist industry in meeting its WHS obligations. You should complete your own risk assessments and take competent advice when implementing health and safety management systems.

Safety management kit for small-scale mines, quarries and extractive industry operations

The Safety management kit for small-scale mines, quarries and extractive industry operations has been redesigned to help prepare a safety management system and to help you comply with mine safety legislation. This kit has been specifically developed for small-sized mines, quarries and extractive industry operations.

It recognises that finding and organising the resources for preparing a safety management system can be difficult for a small mine. There is a need to streamline the preparation of safety management system’s as well as meet documentation requirements. The kit, however, can be modified to fit any small or medium size mine and may help prepare the basis for a comprehensive safety management system.

Safety management kit for small-scale mines, quarries and extractive industry operations: Introduction (DOCX, 5.39 MB)

Safety management kit for small-scale mines, quarries and extractive industry operations: Part 1 (PDF, 1.38 MB)

Instruction pages (Programs 1-21)

Fillable templates (Programs 1-21)

Safety management system assessment (DOCX, 4.76 MB)

Safety management system development chart (PDF, 27.95 KB)