A taste of barite

When it comes to medications and preserving your health, there are always bitter pills to swallow, Bill Langer writes. This is especially so when they’re laced with barium sulfate.

Victoria’s mountains growing taller


Victoria’s alps are rising each year, according to an 18-month survey conducted by the Eastern Victoria Geoscience Initiative.

The 629km stretch of mountains from Benalla, Victoria to Eden, New South Wales is being pushed up by 0.1mm a year, the survey revealed. This is believed to be a side effect of New Zealand’s ongoing tectonic plate boundary collision, which moves its mountain regions up by 12mm every year. The 18-month survey went from the surface to 60km deep into the Earth’s crust.

While Victoria’s growth spurt may seem small, it has provided geoscientists with a number of practical insights. Ross Cayley, of the Geological Survey of Victoria (GSV), told connection.vic.gov.au it will now be easier for earthquake threats to be detected in Victoria due to the survey’s findings. It is also expected to help with infrastructure planning and management plans.

“The research can work out which regions of Eastern Victoria lie above and below major tilted faults, and so better estimate potential earthquake risk from these structures should they reactivate,” Cayley said.

Earthquakes reaching near magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale have hit Victoria in the past, with regions in the state’s east lying above and below major tilted faults.

Mineral exploration will also receive a potential boost, with the survey expected to help locate geological deposits connected between NSW and Victoria. Despite the data being unable to pinpoint the specific location of a mineral deposit, it will be able to help geologists locate the correct district for mineral exploration.

Farming productivity and environmental management is also expected to be improved with the survey’s geological information.

The Eastern Victoria Geoscience Initiative began mapping the Victorian component of the Southeast Lachlan Crustal Transect in 2018. The project aims to improve understanding of southeast Australia’s underlying geological “architecture” from the surface to 60km deep within the Earth’s crust and includes the acquisition of fundamental geoscience datasets and applied geoscientific research. The findings will assist government to make better informed land management decisions to benefit the community, identify natural geological hazards, protect state infrastructure and manage earth resources.

The scientific results of the Initiative will be married up with results from a similar project in southeast New South Wales, providing a key geological reference for southeast Australia in terms of its geology and evolution over the past 500 million years.



Earth Resources releases new regulations for Victoria’s quarries


Victoria’s quarry sector is set for a shake-up following Earth Resources regulation update to the State’s extractive industries.

Introduced in January, the regulations address requirements for work plans, rehabilitation and annual reporting. They also focus on infringement offences.

Replacing the outgoing 2010 regulations, the new update will provide a modernised and streamlined approach to extractive industry regulation.


Earth Resources will be making changes to the risk management area of work plans.

The new regulations clarify that a risk management plan must include performance standards, requirements relating to sensitive receptors and noting the roles and responsibilities of workplace personnel accountable for implementing the plan.


Changes to rehabilitation requirements aim to provide a sense of certainty to the community for the future uses of quarry sites.

Current rehabilitation plans will continue until 1 July 2021 during the transition period.

A requirement to include post-quarry land use along with criteria and steps to ensure rehabilitation is achieved.

The plan must also outline a risk assessment and plan for long-term management of the risks associated with a rehabilitated landform.


A total of 19 new infringement offences have been introduced in the January regulation changes.

Changes include extensions to cover people and corporations along with changes to penalty units.

Infringement notices that previously required full criminal prosecutions are now able to be issued by Earth Resources Regulation.


There are minor changes to annual reports starting from the financial year commencing 1 July 2020.

Reporting is now required to be completed at most 31 days after the end of the financial year (an extension can be granted in some circumstances).

Annual reports now need to include resource estimates for the amount of stone resource available for extraction plus production data.

Stone density before extraction, the stratigraphic unit of the stone and its maximum depth before extraction are also required to be reported.

Statutory declarations are not needed under the new requirements.