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Mine regulator refreshes Victorian site rehab process

 

Earth Resources Regulation has updated the bond rates used to fund rehabilitation projects in Victorian mines and quarries for the first time since 2010.

The bond rates will now reflect more accurate costs to reassure operators about the process of rehabilitation.

The update comes in line with the Regulatory Practice Strategy for the Rehabilitation of Earth Resources Sites report, which aims to help mine and quarry operators across the state plan and rehabilitate sites over their full life cycle.

Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) executive director Anthony Hurst said sites that were closest to the end of their lives or were undergoing expansion would be seen as high priority for the regulator to help out.

“Earth Resources Regulation is committed to working with mine and quarry operators, landholders and co-regulators to improve the progressive rehabilitation of sites,” Hurst said.

“The regulator will step in to rehabilitate sites using the bonds if operators default on their obligations.

“We are taking action to ensure more accurate rehabilitation bonds are in place to ensure quarries and mines get rehabilitated properly to underpin community confidence in the resources sector.”

While a majority of quarry and mine operators understand the importance of site rehabilitation, the ERR advises that the updated bonds are simply in place as a last resort for those who need it most.

Hurst said the revamp wasn’t just about the operators, but also the community.

Another important change will be the active recognition of ongoing and completed rehabilitation works, which will aim to mobilise operators to get on top of their responsibilities in advance.

ERR has also announced an update to the rehabilitation bond calculator for Victorian mines and quarries. The update also ensures that the extractive industry’s obligations match modern standards and costings for site rehabilitation.

The regulator will be holding information sessions for all mine and quarry operators throughout April 2021 to brief them on both the updates to the bond calculator, as well as providing further information about cash bonds and bank guarantees. Details of these sessions are available at earthresources.vic.gov.au – where the bond calculator and key details are also be available.