The Queensland Government is working to improve rehabilitation and financial assurance outcomes in the resources sector through the delivery of a broad package of reforms. The reforms have involved updates to legislation including changes to financial assurance arrangements (provisions and calculations) and new requirements for progressive rehabilitation and closure of mines.
These guidelines were most recently updated March 2021 to ensure they align with the new/amended provisions in the Environmental Protection Act 1994 as a result of the introduction of the Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020.
What does this mean for you?
Existing site-specific (mining) EA holders
You will be required to apply for an ERC decision 3 months prior to either the existing ERC expiry date or the Plan of Operation expiry date, whichever comes first. An application to amend your EA will also trigger a new ERC decision.
You will receive a transition notice sometime in the next 3 years requesting submission of a PRC Plan by a specified date (not less than 6 months from the date of the notice).
New EA application
All new EA applications will require an ERC decision application and a PRC Plan.
Financial Provisioning Scheme
The new financial provisioning scheme commenced on 1 April 2019. Financial assurance is now provided by paying a contribution to a financial provisioning fund and/or the giving of surety to the scheme manager. The scheme manager is a statutory officer who manages the fund contributions and the sureties on behalf of the State.
Estimated Rehabilitation Cost (ERC)
The ERC is the estimated cost of rehabilitating the land on which a resource activity is carried out.
COOE has been working with Clients to determine the ERC for their resource projects. This involves navigating DES’s ERC calculator in line with ERC calculation methods, preparing the ERC decision application and supporting documentation and pre-lodgement presentation to DES.
ERC decision applications are due to be lodged with the department 3 months prior to either the existing ERC expiry date or the Plan of Operation expiry date, whichever comes first.
Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan (PRC Plan)
Progressive rehabilitation and closure plan (PRC plan) requirements for resource activities took effect from the 1 November 2019 (PRC plan start date) to implement key elements of the Mined Land Rehabilitation Policy.
All mines with a site-specific environmental authority (EA) must prepare a PRC plan.
What is a PRC Plan?
A PRC plan requires you, as the EA holder, to plan for how and where activities will be carried out on the land in a way that maximises the progressive rehabilitation of the land to a stable condition. Your PRC plan must meet the requirements set out under the EP Act and the progressive rehabilitation and closure plan guideline.
A PRC plan consists of 2 parts:
- A rehabilitation planning part
- PRCP schedule.
What is a PRCP Schedule?
A PRCP schedule includes a final site design map that identifies the post-mining land uses (PMLUs) and any non-use management areas (NUMAs). The PRCP schedule also includes a table of milestones and any conditions imposed by the administering authority.
Do you have an existing EA?
All site-specific mining EAs will transition to the PRC plan framework over a 3 year period.
If you are the relevant holder of the EA, you will receive a transition notice from the administering authority requiring you to submit a PRC plan within a time frame of at least 6 months. COOE can assist you with preparation of your PRC Plan to meet your due date.
Are you applying for a new EA?
If you are applying for a new site-specific EA application for mining leases, you will be required to submit a PRC plan with any EA application. COOE can assist you with your mining plan, environmental impact assessments, EA application and supporting PRC Plan and ERC.