MINING AND PETROLEUM GATEWAY PROCESS STAGE

 

The Gateway Process stage is an additional step in the planning process for ‘State Significant Development‘ mining and petroleum proposals on ‘Strategic Agricultural Land‘. At this stage a Gateway Panel will assess the impact of the proposal on land and water. At the end of this stage the Gateway Panel will issue a Gateway Certificate which might include recommendations which must be considered in a Development Application at the Pre-Production stage.

 

 

What is the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Process?
 

The Gateway Process is an extra stage of assessment which some mining and petroleum development proposals will need to pass through before a development application is able to be lodged for the proposal.

 

At this stage, a Gateway Panel will undertake a scientific assessment of the impacts of the proposed development on agricultural land and water.

 

Once it has completed its assessment the Gateway Panel must issue a Gateway Certificate with or without conditions.

 

When is the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Process triggered?
 

Not every mineral or petroleum development proposal will be required to pass through the Gateway Process stage.

 

Developments will need to pass through the Gateway Process where:

 

  • the proposed development is a State Significant Development; and 

  • the proposed development is on Strategic Agricultural Land; and

  • if the proposed development is at the mining or petroleum production stage:

    • it must extend beyond the existing mining or petroleum production lease area, or

    • be a new mining or petroleum production lease.

 

The proposed development is State Significant Development 

In some cases, mineral and petroleum proposals at the exploration stage will be classified as State Significant Development.

 

All coal mining and petroleum proposals at the production stage will be State Significant Development.

 

Associated infrastructure components such as pipelines are not State Significant Developments and will not require assessment through the Gateway Process.

 

Other mineral mining developments will qualify as State Significant Development if: 

 

  • the development is proposed in an environmentally sensitive area of state significance;

  • the proposed development has a capital investment of more than $30 million;

  • the Minister for Planning and Environment decides a proposed development should be considered a State Significant Development.  

 

The land subject of the proposal is Strategic Agricultural Land 

As well as being a State Significant Development, to be required to pass through the Gateway Process the land subject of the mining or petroleum proposal must be Strategic Agricultural Land.

 

There are two categories of Strategic Agricultural Land in NSW:

 

  • Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land, and

  • Critical Industry Clusters.
     

For more information on Strategic Agricultural Land see the page:

Strategic Regional Land Use Policy

 

The Gateway Process will not be triggered by mining or petroleum expansions within an existing lease area. However, these proposals will still be subject to the usual development assessment process including an environmental impact assessment, agricultural impact statement and assessment against the Aquifer Interference Policy. 

 

Who will undertake the Mining and Petroleum Gateway assessment?

The Gateway Assessment will be undertaken by a Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel.

 

The Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel was established on 4 October 2013 under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007.

 

Three Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel members will consider each application for a Gateway Certificate.[1]

 

Members of the Panel are appointed for a period of time determined by the Minister of Planning and operate subject to a charter, operational procedures and code of conduct, which can be viewed online.

 

For more information on the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel charter, operational procedures and code of conduct visit:

Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel

 

Referral to the Independent Expert Scientific Committee

As part of its assessment, the Gateway Panel must refer any coal or coal seam gas proposal located on Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land to the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development, established by the Federal Minister for the Environment.

 

The committee will provide advice regarding the impact of the proposed development on water resources.

 

For more information on the Independent Expert   Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining see:

Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining

 

Referral to the Minister for Lands & Natural Resources

As part of its assessment, the Gateway Panel must refer any mineral or petroleum proposal located on Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land to the NSW Minister for Lands & Natural Resources. The Minister will provide advice to the Gateway Panel regarding the impact of the proposed development on water resources as assessed under the Aquifer Interference Policy.

 

For more information on the Aquifer Interference Policy see the chapter:

Aquifer Interference Policy

 

What will the Gateway Panel assess? 
 

Assessment of impacts on Biophysical Strategic Agricultural land 

The criteria against which the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel will assess a State Significant Development mineral or petroleum proposal on Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land are

... that the proposed development will not significantly reduce the agricultural productivity of any Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land, based on a consideration of the following:

  • any impacts on the land through surface area disturbance and subsidence;

  • any impacts on soil fertility, effective rooting depth or soil drainage;

  • increases in land surface micro-relief, soil salinity, rock outcrop, slope and surface rockiness or significant changes to soil pH;

  • any impacts on highly productive groundwater (within the meaning of the Aquifer Interference Policy);

  • any fragmentation of agricultural land uses; and

  • any reduction in the area of Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land.

 

In forming their opinion, the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel must also consider:

 

  • the duration of any impact of the proposal, and

  • any proposed avoidance, mitigation, offset or rehabilitation measures in respect of any such impact.[2]

 

Assessment of impacts on Critical Industry Cluster land

The criteria against which the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel will assess a State Significant Development mineral proposal on Critical Industry Cluster land are:

... that the proposed development will not have a significant impact on the relevant critical industry based on a consideration of the following:

  • any impacts on the land through surface area disturbance and subsidence;

  • reduced access to, or impacts on, water resources and agricultural resources;

  • reduced access to support services and infrastructure;

  • reduced access to transport routes;

  • the loss of scenic and landscape values.

 

In forming their opinion, the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel must also consider:

 

  • the duration of any impact of the proposal; and

  • any proposed avoidance, mitigation, offset or rehabilitation measures in respect of any such impact.

  

What can the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel decide?

 

The Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel’s primary tasks are to assess the impacts of the proposed development and to issue a Gateway Certificate.

 

The Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel cannot stop a development – it must issue a Gateway Certificate either with or without conditions.

 

Once a mineral or petroleum operator has been issued a Gateway Certificate it is able to lodge a development application for the proposal.

 

If the Gateway Certificate is issued with conditions, those conditions must be addressed at the development application stage. Depending on the conditions, this may require the petroleum or mining company to alter its proposal.

For more information on the Development Application Stage see the chapter:

Pre-production/development application stage

 

How long will the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel take to assess the development?

 

The Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel has 90 days to undertake an assessment.

 

If the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel has not issued a Gateway Certificate within 90 days, then the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment is required to direct the Panel to issue a Gateway Certificate within 30 days.

 

If the panel does not issue a Gateway certificate within 30 days, the Panel must issue an unconditional Gateway Certificate. If this occurs, input from the Gateway Panel will be sought when the Department of Planning and Environment prepares Secretary’s Requirements for the proposal.     

 

Can I appeal the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel’s decision?

 

Neither landholders nor mineral or petroleum operators are able to appeal a decision of the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel.

 

[1]  NSW Government State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) Amendment 2012, Public Consultation Draft (NSW Trade and Investment, November 2012)

[2]  State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) 2007 cl 17H

 

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