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Earth Resources Regulation updates quarry guidelines



The Victorian earth resources regulator has updated its work plan and geotechnical guidelines for quarries.

According to Earth Resources Regulation (ERR), new work plans will require a planning permit unless they are subject to an Environment Effects Statement or existing use rights have been instilled.

An initial site meeting is required to assist in drafting a work plan, and includes discussions about issues and requirements to gain a permit.

The site visit aims to bring the quarry together with relevant agencies who may be affected by the proposal – either statutory referral authorities or relevant non-statutory referral bodies.

The work plan must include risk control measures for areas including dust, noise and erosion. It also requires a risk management plan, community engagement and geotechnical requirements.

Work plans are required for most persons who undertake an extractive enterprise but operations may be exempt if it is on land area that does not exceed five hectares, is less than five metres deep and does not require blasting to clear native vegetation.

ERR’s updated Preparation of Work Plans and Work Plan Variations – Guideline for Extractive Industry Projects is available online to assist in the creation of high quality work plans.

The regulator stated the guideline will “provide greater certainty for industry and streamline regulatory decisions”.

Slope design
An updated Geotechnical Guideline for Terminal and Rehabilitated Slopes – Extractive Industry Projects has also been released to assist with submitting a work plan’s geotechnical requirements.

According to the geotechnical guidelines, a qualified geotechnical engineer, who is a full member or part of a recognised professional organisation (RPO), including AusIMM, is required to undertake the geotechnical assessment.

A geotechnical assessment is designed to outline quarry planning and risk management processes by understanding ground stability through the collection of information across the life of an operation.

ERR is currently seeking industry and public feedback on its Preparation of Rehabilitation Plans – Guideline for Extractive Industry Projects draft.

Feedback can be submitted online for the new rehabilitation guideline which will take effect from 1 July 2021.

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