The Department is committed to ensuring companies follow through on their environmental responsibilities to ensure the impact on the environment is minimised.
|Date:||Friday, 18 December 2020|
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has issued a reminder to industry about their exploration rehabilitation obligations and the associated penalties for non-compliance.
Given the volume of exploration that occurs in the State, the Department has strengthened its approach to rehabilitation compliance monitoring through its integrated compliance program in 2019 and 2020. During this time, four companies were investigated for breaching tenement conditions across multiple tenements in relation to failing to rehabilitate; resulting in the following penalties:
|$100,130||Failure to backfill and rehabilitate exploration activities within 6 months of excavation across 10 tenements.|
|$192,020||Failure to backfill and rehabilitate exploration activities within 6 months of excavation across 10 tenements.|
|$141,204||Failure to backfill and rehabilitate exploration activities within 6 months of excavation across 12 tenements.|
|$110,143||Failure to backfill and rehabilitate exploration activities within 6 months of excavation across 11 tenements.|
Resource and Environmental Compliance Executive Director, Karen Caple said the Department is committed to ensuring companies follow through on their environmental responsibilities to ensure impacts to the environment are minimised.
“Mineral explorers and prospectors must lodge a Programme of Work (PoW) application with the Department before using any mechanised equipment for exploration ground disturbance on a mining tenement,” she said.
“Following Departmental approval, all explorers and prospectors must comply with the relevant tenement conditions to ensure they meet their environmental and rehabilitation obligations. It is also a requirement that all drill holes are temporarily capped, or otherwise made safe, immediately after drilling has finished until final rehabilitation is completed.”
Final rehabilitation activities include:
- securely plugging all drill holes below ground;
- removing all waste and rubbish;
- backfilling any sumps; and
- redistributing any cleared topsoil and vegetation.
Rehabilitation must be completed no later than six months after excavation, unless otherwise approved in writing by a Departmental Environmental Officer.
Failure to do so is a breach of tenement conditions and under the Mining Act 1978 the Minister for Mines and Petroleum has the option to:
- forfeit the tenement;
- impose a penalty in lieu of forfeiture; or
- impose no penalty.
Once all the rehabilitation work has been completed, the Department encourages companies to submit a rehabilitation report. A pro forma is available online to assist.
For more information, please call (08) 9222 3737.