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Mining rehabilitation reforms

Financial assurance reform

The Queensland Government is working to ensure that reform of the current financial assurance arrangements for the resource sector protects the State’s finances while achieving the best balance between a viable resources sector and the environment.

The reform package proposes to deliver:

  • a higher level of environmental performance
  • rehabilitation investment in the State’s resources industry
  • better protection of the State’s financial interests.

Find out more information on the broader reforms.

Mining rehabilitation reforms

The Mined Land Rehabilitation Policy (PDF, 1.3M) formalises the Queensland Government’s commitment to ensuring land disturbed by mining activities is rehabilitated to a safe and stable landform that does not cause environmental harm and is able to sustain an approved post-mining land use.

To deliver on this commitment, the framework that supports full implementation of the policy includes a requirement for all large mines in Queensland to develop a Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan (PRC Plan). This will include new mines, as part of their site-specific environmental authority application process. Existing mines will be transitioned into the framework.

The PRC Plan is designed to ensure mines are planned to enhance progressive rehabilitation rates by including clear milestones with set delivery dates. Progress towards milestones will be regularly monitored through annual reporting on past performance and a 3-yearly audit to assess current and future performance.

Public accountability is a key policy objective of the reforms and is included in the PRC plan framework by ensuring consultation occurs where significant changes are proposed to those commitments made in a PRC plan.

The policy was approved by the Queensland Government following consultation with industry, community and environmental stakeholders who provided feedback on the Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland discussion paper.

Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018

The Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018 was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 15 February 2018.

The Bill forms a key part of the Government’s response to issues raised in the Review of Queensland’s Financial Assurance Framework (PDF) and the Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland discussion paper (PDF).

The Bill has two main purposes:

  1. to create the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018 that establishes a financial provisioning scheme to deal with the environmental impacts of resource activities
  2. to amend the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) to introduce the new requirements for plans for the progressive closure and rehabilitation of mined land.

The new financial provisioning scheme will replace the current financial assurance requirement for resource activities under the EP Act. The Scheme Manager established under the scheme will make a risk category allocation decision for each environmental authority. This may result in the need for a contribution to be made to the scheme fund or provision of surety. The required contribution or amount of surety will be based on the estimated rehabilitation cost (ERC) that will continue to be determined by the department under the EP Act, and provided to the Scheme Manager.

The new financial provisions will be ‘turned on’ after a proclamation is made to make it take effect. This date is yet to be determined. There will be a three-year transition period from this take effect date for existing operations.

Estimated Rehabilitation Cost (ERC) Guideline

The Department of Environment and Science is reviewing the existing Financial Assurance under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 guideline (to relate to financial assurance for prescribed ERAs) and creating a new ERC guideline (for resource activities) to support commencement of the Bill.

The department is reviewing its FA calculators to deliver contemporary calculator rates and improve existing functionality. Following this review, the Financial Assurance calculators will be renamed the estimated rehabilitation cost (ERC) calculators.

Together, the ERC calculators and the estimated rehabilitation cost under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 guideline will support the Financial Provisioning Scheme, subject to the passing of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018 by Parliament.

The consultation period for both the draft ERC guideline (PDF, 753K) and draft application form (PDF, 755K) has now closed.

A revised version of the ERC guideline and approved form will be available for viewing once the documents have been finalised.

The commencement date of the new documents is dependent on the passing of the bill by Parliament.

Progressive rehabilitation and closure plans for mining

The Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018 proposes to amend the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) to introduce the new requirement for Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure (PRC) Plans.

This requirement is integrated into the existing environmental authority process, minimising the regulatory burden on government and industry. The outcome of the process is a stand-alone PRCP schedule, approved by the administering authority, which will contain milestones with completion dates for achieving progressive rehabilitation of a mine site.

The Bill provides transitional arrangements for the application of the PRC plan requirements to existing mines and for the commencement of the PRC plan obligations which will not commence until a date set by the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 (EP Regulation). This has been termed the ‘progressive rehabilitation and closure plan start date’ (PRCP start date).

The PRCP start date will be early 2019 in order to better prepare industry and government, and existing operations will be transitioned to the new requirement over three years after that date.

Next steps

The department is working on materials to support the new financial provisioning scheme and PRC plan requirements, such as the new ERC calculator and guideline and PRC plan guidelines.

The frequently asked questions pages will be updated regularly to ensure all interested parties receive the latest information about the reforms.

For any other queries that are not addressed within the frequently asked questions page, please email .

Last updated
31 May 2018