A draft ‘Preparation of Rehabilitation Plans: Guideline for Extractive Industry Projects’ has been prepared to assist extractive industry authority holders prepare rehabilitation plans that meet new regulatory requirements.
The extractive industries encompass the extraction or removal of stone from land for sale or commercial use in construction, building, road or manufacturing works. Before land can be developed for these operations, a work plan must be statutorily endorsed under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (subject to certain exemptions) and, where required, a planning permit approved. As part of the work plan, new rehabilitation plan requirements were introduced in the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Extractive Industries) Regulations 2019 that commenced on 26 January 2020. The new rehabilitation requirements take effect from 1 July 2021.
Earth Resources Regulation has drafted a Rehabilitation Plan Guideline to assist extractive industry authority holders develop rehabilitation plans that meet regulatory requirements in Victoria and achieve sustainable rehabilitation outcomes. The draft guideline articulates what a quarry operator must include in its rehabilitation plan. It also provides clarity on how ERR defines ‘safe, stable and sustainable’ – the key assessment criteria for rehabilitation. While the guideline has a material impact on what the rehabilitated site looks like, it does not include detailed guidance on how to do rehabilitation.
The primary focus of the guideline is on the rehabilitation plan assessment stage. It is, however, relevant for the whole-of-quarry-lifecycle as the rehabilitation plan should be updated throughout the quarry’s lifecycle as the operator builds a site-specific knowledge base.
Feedback is sought on the draft guideline to assess the effectiveness of the content for enabling authority holders to prepare rehabilitation plans that meet the new regulatory requirements.