CMPA Rehabilitation Project

By on October 8, 2021

Dr Elizabeth Gibson, General Manager of the CMPA

Review of Extractive Industry Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Policy and Bonds in Victoria

The CMPA supports responsible, balanced legislation and community engagement that is in the best interests of the State and acknowledges Victoria’s Aboriginal communities and cultural heritage.  

 In the previous issue of Sand & Stone (117), a chart of the total of rehabilitation bonds for the extractive industry together with the number of Work Authorities against the last 10 years was published using data obtained from Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) Statistical Reviews.  The magnitude increase of Rehabilitations Bonds from 2010/11 – 2019/20 is 43%. Additionally, notwithstanding a hold on rehabilitation bond increases by ERR from 2014/15 (apart from work plan variations) the total rehabilitation bond for the extractive industry has increased despite a decrease in the number of Work Authorities.  Yet ERR still wants a further increase in rehabilitation bonds and has revised the rehabilitation bond calculator where some components have increased by 35%.

The CMPA is concerned that the Victorian Government is taking an unnecessarily conservative approach to rehabilitation bonds for the extractive industry when there is no evidence of need. Hence CMPA is undertaking a project to review the Extractive Industry Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Policy and Bonds in Victoria.

Project objectives

The project objective is to produce a Report on the Review of Extractive Industry Rehabilitation; and Rehabilitation Policy and Bonds which qualitatively and quantitively assesses:

  • Their impact on the immediate viability and longer-term sustainability of the extractive industry in Victoria; and
  • The risk profile of the extractive industry and provide recommendations on how the Rehabilitation and Bonds policy can be amended to reflect the risk profile.

Target audience

Construction materials industry, governments (Ministers, Councilors, and public servants) and community.

Specific goals

  1. Review briefing documentation and hold meetings with relevant people
  1. Prepare a history of rehabilitation of quarries in Victoria using relevant material including that provided, that includes:
  • An estimation of the number of rehabilitated extractive industry sites and mining sites in Victoria.
  • Estimate the approximate number of unrehabilitated extractive industry sites and mining sites in Victoria.
  • Summarise the history of risks associated with the extractive industry rehabilitation and compare with mines.
  • Review rehabilitation bond policies for extractive industry in other jurisdictions in Australia and highlight best practice that can be adopted in Victoria.
  • The end land use. This should consider what the landowner can seek or agree to have retained on their site (i.e. hardstands)
  • Determine, where possible, the costs associated with rehabilitation undertaken by the Victorian Government over the last 25 years in the extractive industry and compare with the mining industry.
  1. Explain the differences under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 between extractive industry and mining industry: including but not limited to:
  • Right of entry – i.e. In that the extractive industry, generally a commercial lease is entered into with the landowner.
  • Ownership of resources
  • Geological risk of fire
  1. Review the rehabilitation bond calculator for:
  • Excessive and unnecessary requirements based on the lower and different risk profile of the extractive industry.
  • Ability to respond to site-specific end use, land owner requirements, and air-space.
  • Consider if a centrally held management fee would work.
  1. Provision of a legal opinion as to the exposure (contingent liability) to the State of Victoria (requirement for rehabilitation of extractive industry sites to be undertaken by Government).

The CMPA project brief was advertised on line and in print and 3 proposals were received.  The successful proposal is EHS-Support

EHS Support is uniquely qualified to complete this work assignment having already completed major studies and reviews of financial assurance (bonding) and reporting for the mining, energy, and other extractive industries. EHS Support has completed financial assurance estimates and studies in SA, NT, QLD and NSW and has developed guidance and calculators for the Queensland Government. EHS Support has accredited Auditors who regularly verify financial assurance estimates for landfills in Victoria. They have also completed numerous advocacy assignments for Industry including the Queensland Resources Council, APPEA and the Mining Club associated with, rehabilitation requirements, offsets, financial assurance, and taxation.

EHS Support is currently working on the closure and rehabilitation of the Anglesea Coal Mine in Victoria and has worked on decommissioning and rehabilitation of quarry/borrow pit sites in Queensland, provided risk assessments and evaluations to support transfer of quarry sites between private entities and from private entities to public entities and has numerous projects involving mine closure in the United States. EHS Support understands the regulatory complexity and inherent duplicative nature of regulation in Victoria with mine and quarry closure. The team includes specialists in rehabilitation bonding, mine and quarry rehabilitation, and extractive industries regulation.

Kevin Simpson will lead the EHS Support team and is a qualified Mechanical Engineer Kevin has over 20 years of environmental engineering experience including development of bond estimates and engineering cost estimates for development projects. Kevin authored the EHS Support 2020 paper Financial Assurance – Getting the Balance Right which explored several of the key issues CMPA is looking to address.

Mike Slight will bring mining expertise. Mike is a qualified mining engineer with over 40 years mining experience including at the General Manager level. Mike held site management responsibility for operations as well as planning for, and successfully implementing and closing two large-scale mining operations. Mike was responsible for the establishment, management, and leadership of a corporate closure planning function within Newmont’s Asia Pacific region. This included management responsibility for the company’s seven closed mine sites across Australia. Mike and his team were also responsible for closure and reclamation planning for all Newmont Australia’s operating mines focussing on the integration of closure “thinking” into the day-today operations planning and decision-making processes. This approach provided opportunities for reducing closure liabilities through smarter mine planning and operating decisions and practices that resulted in lower costs at closure and ultimately improved project returns to shareholders and enhanced company reputation. Mike has been a member of the University of Queensland’s Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation advisory board for over 10 years and served two terms as chair of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Advisory panel of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety of WA. Mike will provide specialist technical input from a mine / quarry rehabilitation perspective.

Natasha Reifschneider brings specific Victorian quarry experience and will provide specialist technical input. Natasha is an extractive industries specialist with over 22 years of professional experience in the management and delivery of impact assessment and environmental and planning approvals for the industrial and infrastructure sector. Natasha undertakes work for extractive industry companies including Holcim, Hanson, and Fulton Hogan. She is a member of the Institute of Quarrying Australia.

The Project is expected to be completed by 25 November 2021 with a presentation to Members at a General Meeting in Bendigo (COVID-19 restrictions permitting).

Dr Elizabeth Gibson will manage the project and any comments or if you would like to be involved in the CMPA Rehabilitation Project please contact elizabeth.gibson@cmpavic.asn.au.

EHS Support will be seeking written responses and/or interviews with members who would like to contribute. Examples of questions to be considered are:

  1. What do you see as the main issues associated with the rehabilitation regulation and bonding system in Victoria with respect to quarrying?
  2. What specific aspects of the rehabilitation regulation and bonding system impact your business?
  3. Have any of your operations undergone a bond review under the new system and if so, are you able to supply the details?
  4. Are you able to supply any specific correspondence with the regulators including calculations and determination of bonds for past and current projects?
  5. What specific aspects of the rehabilitation regulation and bonding system would you like to see changed and do you have ideas on how they should change?

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