Update - 19/01/2021

The IAC has received Information from Kalbar, correspondence from Southern Rural Water and the Department of Human and Health Services in response to the IAC questions and expert witness details from Parties. This information can be found on the Tabled Documents page here.

The IAC Hearing Timetable (v1) is now available and can be viewed at the link below.


The Minister for Planning has appointed a joint Inquiry and Advisory Committee, known as the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) to consider and advise on the Environment Effects Statement (EES), Works Approval Application (WAA), the draft Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) affecting the East Gippsland Planning Scheme and public submissions received on the proposed Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project.

The work and scope of the IAC is guided by the Terms of Reference that have been approved by the Minister for Planning. The Terms of Reference can be found in the Document Library on the right hand side of this page.

The Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) comprises of the following Members:

  • Nick Wimbush (Chair)
  • Natasha Reifschneider (Deputy Chair)
  • Meredith Gibbs
  • John Ginivan
Learn more about the members by reading their biographies.

The Proposal

To develop the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project (the Project) which has an approximate area of 1,675 hectares and is located approximately 20 kilometres north-west of Bairnsdale in East Gippsland, Victoria.

The proposal includes:

  • the development of a mineral sands mine
  • two mining unit plants
  • wet concentrator plant (comprising mineral separation processing and tailings thickening and disposal plant)
  • water supply infrastructure (inside and outside of the mining licence)
  • power supply infrastructure (inside and outside of the mining licence)
  • tailings storage facility
  • additional site facilities, such as a site office, warehouse, workshop, loading facilities and fuel storage
  • new rail siding/ roads/ diversions/ intersections etc (outside of the mining licence).

The proposed mining methods involve open pit mining to extract approximately 170 million tonnes of ore over a projected mine life of 20 years to produce approximately 8 Mt of mineral concentrate. Mine products are proposed to be transported via road or by rail for export overseas.

The mining project would require up to 9000 kilovolt-ampere (kVA) hours of power likely to be supplied from the electricity grid and annual water requirements of approximately 3 gigalitres.

The Proponent is Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd (Kalbar).

View the Proposal

You may inspect the EES, draft Planning Scheme Amendment and Works Approval Application and any related documents on the Kalbar Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project webpage.

Inquiry and Advisory Committee Process

The Project was on public exhibition for 40 business days between Thursday 3 September and 5.00pm on Thursday 29 October 2020. You can view the submissions received here.

The Directions Hearing was conducted by video conference using Zoom at 10.00am on Monday 14 December 2020.

A recording of the Directions Hearing is available on YouTube.

The purpose of the Directions Hearing was to:

  • consider any preliminary or procedural issues and give directions about the conduct of the Hearing including the exchange of any expert witness reports
  • make arrangements for the Hearing, including the Timetable and Hearing venue
  • answer any questions people may have about the Hearing.

Public Hearing

The Public Hearing is scheduled to commence on Monday 15 February 2021 and will run for 8 weeks.

The hearing is to be a hybrid between videoconference and limited in-person submitter attendance in the region (depending on Covid restrictions).

Parties to the Hearing have been contacted by Planning Panels Victoria regarding these arrangements.

The videoconference Hearing link will be provided closer to the start of the hearing in February 2021 as well as further information on the venue for the in person portion of the hearing to be held in the Gippsland region (depending on Covid restrictions).

The purpose of the Public Hearing is to give people an opportunity to speak in support of their written submission. The Public Hearing is open for anyone to watch.

Privacy and Intellectual Property

Please note that your submission will be treated as a public document in accordance with the Privacy Collection Statement (which can be accessed through Document Library) which may include provisions to other parties and display in the Hearing. You should not include any other personal information in the body of your submission, such as physical addresses, email address and phone details, unless that information can be made publicly available. You can request access to your personal information held by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning by contacting the Freedom of Information Unit on (03) 9637 8186 or FOI.unit@delwp.vic.gov.au.

This Privacy Collection Statement relates to all submissions collected in relation to the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project Inquiry and Advisory Committee (the ‘IAC’). Planning Panels Victoria (PPV) is providing administrative services to the IAC.

PPV is part of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and submissions will be managed in accordance with the Department’s Information Privacy Policy. The Department’s Information Privacy Policy is online at https://www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/doing-business-with-us/information-privacy.

Use of your submission

Your submission has been collected by the IAC for the purpose of helping to develop its advice to the Minister for Planning in accordance with the Terms of Reference.

Natural justice to participants and transparency are important parts of the IAC process. In meeting its legislative requirements and complying with the Terms of Reference, the IAC may do the following with your submission:

  • Publish a copy of your submission, in its entirety, on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website, Engage Victoria website or other Victorian Government website as required
  • Provide a copy of your submission to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Local Councils, Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd, EPA Victoria, Government Agencies and other parties (submitters) to the process
  • Provide a copy of your personal contact details to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and EPA Victoria if needed for notification of Ministerial decisions
  • Display a copy of your submission in the Planning Panels Victoria Office
  • Display a copy of your submission at relevant Local Council, Local Library or Government Offices as appropriate
  • If a Public Hearing is to be held, display a copy of your submission in the Hearing room.

Publication of your personal information on the Internet

The IAC Report will be published on the internet and may include:

  • The name of the submitter
  • Direct quotes from some of the submission
  • The submitter’s name and address as required.

Planning Panels Victoria will remove your submission from the web pages that it controls within six months after the IAC has reported. Planning Panels Victoria cannot guarantee that your submission will be removed from external web pages outside its control.

Hearing of submissions

If a Hearing is required it may be held face to face, via telephone conference or via video link or a combination of these. You should be aware the IAC may:

  • broadcast submissions and proceedings live on the internet
  • record submissions and proceedings
  • make the recording available on request to submitters and parties to the Hearing and third parties
  • publish the recording on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website, Engage Victoria website or other Victorian Government website
  • use your phone contact details to contact you during a telephone/video hearing as is necessary.

The IAC will direct that parties do not record online hearings or use them for any other purpose. However, the IAC is unable to guarantee that third parties will not be recording online Hearings, and the use of any such recordings outside the hearing context cannot be regulated by the IAC.

All participants are reminded that during the IAC process, the privacy of others should be respected and to refrain from the defamation of others.

After the Inquiry and Advisory Committee has reported

After the IAC has reported to the Minister for Planning your submission will be removed from all public display within six months.

Your original submission and any additional material provided to the IAC will be held at Planning Panels Victoria for two years and then sent to the Public Records Office of Victoria. All additional copies of the submission and other material held by Planning Panels Victoria will be securely destroyed.

If you have any concerns in respect to the way your personal information or submission will be used please contact Planning Panels Victoria on Fingerboards.IAC@delwp.vic.gov.au.


For questions about the Inquiry and Advisory Committee process and making a submission please contact:

Name Planning Panels Victoria
Phone 136 186 (Select option 6)
Email Fingerboards.IAC@delwp.vic.gov.au

For questions about the Minister's Assessment and EES process, please contact:

Name Impact Assessment Unit, DELWP
Phone (03) 8392 5503
Email environment.assessment@delwp.vic.gov.au

For questions about the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project, EES documentation and accessibility requirements please contact:

Name Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd
Phone 1800 791 396
Email contactus@fingerboardsproject.com.au
Website www.fingerboardsproject.com.au/

For questions about the Works Approval Application, please contact:

Name EPA Victoria
Phone 1300 372 842
Email works.approvals@epa.vic.gov.au
Website www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/current-projects-issues/major-infrastructure-and-development