ERR update the Rehabilitation Bond calculator

By on April 23, 2021

DR ELIZABETH GIBSON, General Manager of the CMPA.

Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) has updated (first time since 2010) the rehabilitation bond calculator for mines and quarries.

The update is to ensure that industry obligations match modern standards and costings for site rehabilitation. The CMPA supports the principle of responsible, balanced legislation that is in the best interests of the State of Victoria and Australia.

Bonds need to cover the true costs of rehabilitation should an operator default on their statutory obligations and ERR need to step in to rehabilitate a site. Over the past 20 years approximately $20K has been spent on rehabilitating quarries whilst for mines it is approximately $10 million. There appears to be difficulty within ERR on differentiating between mines and the lower but different risk profile of quarries.

ERR “will work closely with site operators to progressively review estimated rehabilitation costs and bonds using the updated calculator – this will be done in an orderly way and will take time.” However, there may be some exception taken by quarry operators to the “orderly fashion” being undertaken by ERR in their application of the updated bond calculator.

There have been a few cases where the updated calculator has been used using the “google earth” platform (no site visit) which have led to increases of between 1200-4000%. This is unsustainable for the extractive industry with small operators currently bearing the brunt of these increases. It is the intent of the Secretariat to conduct an external investigation into the rehabilitation bond calculator and accompanying strategies.

There are a number of quarry applications occurring varying from small to large: including greenfield site applications and work plan variations. As many of you are familiar with the process: lengthy, costly and uncertain outcome with much community negativity. There are limited areas to look for support. It has come to the Secretariat’s attention that the former Shadow Minister for Resources, The Hon Ryan Smith has been signing up to letters and petitions in favour of the objectors to quarries/quarry expansions. There appears to be a lack of understanding of the essential role of construction materials in ensuring the economic viability of Victoria.

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