New NSW compliances for mine safety and rehabilitation

New vegetation growth amongst mining rehabilitation area.
New vegetation growth amongst mining rehabilitation area.

The NSW Resources Regulator has launched new compliances priorities for H2 CY24 for safe and sustainable mining across the State.

These include: risk management and supervision in open cut coal mines; airborne contaminants in metalliferous mines; mobile plant work platform attachments; safety management systems for Tier 2 quarries; revegetation, surface and groundwater management, and tailings dam management; and compliance with exploration licence conditions, including community consultation and rehabilitation signoff.

NSW Resources Regulator executive director Peter Day says the priorities have been developed in response to incidents and feedback from industry and the community.

“By listening to industry and analysing incident data, we can implement targeted strategies that enhance operational safety, protect the environment, and promote sustainable practices across the resources sector,” he said.

“Our inspectors work hard every day, attending mine training days and pre-shift briefings to educate workers and reduce the number of incidents on mine sites.

“Mining is a temporary use of the land which is why the Regulator’s focus on rehabilitation is so important.

“We are working directly with mine operators and inspecting sites to ensure everyone is aware of their obligations in achieving sustainable rehabilitation outcomes.”

The Resources Regulator sets out its key priorities and proactive assessment programs every six months to ensure inspectors and industry are working collaboratively.

The compliance priorities aim to ensure a safe and sustainable mining, extractive and petroleum industry in NSW, with the latest State Budget including $13.6m over four years for mine rehabilitation.

This includes additional dedicated regulatory resources to oversee mine rehabilitation and ensure compliance, additional investigators to undertake investigations into alleged breaches of the Mining Act and the establishment of a mine closure team who will work with industry to ensure future economic opportunities are maximised for closed mines.

Mr Day says regularly publishing the Regulator’s priorities ensures best practice for industry.

“Reporting on compliance priorities ensures that best practices are consistently upheld, providing a transparent framework for safety and operational standards,” he said.

“This commitment not only fosters a culture of accountability but also ensures that workers are protected, creating a safer and more efficient working environment on site.

“This also reminds mining operators of their obligations and promotes voluntary compliance.

“Mine rehabilitation is essential for ensuring that land used for mining activity is made safe, stable and sustainable.

“The Regulator’s focus on Rehabilitation will ensure operators are aware of their obligations under the Mining Act.”

The full report on Compliance Priorities July to December 2024 can be accessed on the NSW Resources Regulator website at www.resourcesregulator.nsw.gov.au/compliance-priorities.