POST-PRODUCTION STAGE

 

After a mineral or petroleum producer has finalised its extraction of minerals or petroleum from the area of its production title it has further obligations including to rehabilitate the site. Before a mineral or petroleum producer can access your land to undertake post-production works and rehabilitation it may need to negotiate a land access arrangement with you.

 

What happens at the post-production stage for mineral production?[1],[2]

 

Once the life of a mine has ended, the mine operator has a responsibility to ensure that land disturbed by mining operations is returned to a sustainable post-mining land use.

 

Mining affected land can be rehabilitated to a variety of land uses including cropping and agriculture, native ecosystems, forestry, industry, heritage sites, residential developments and mixed land uses.

 

Under the Mining Act 1992, the NSW Government has a wide range of powers for regulating rehabilitation including:

 

  • environmental management and rehabilitation conditions on mining titles;

  • rehabilitation security bonds for all mining and exploration titles; and

  • clear enforcement powers to ensure titleholders comply with their obligations.

 

Titleholders must also submit and comply with an approved Mine Operations Plan (including a rehabilitation plan), which is used for detailed rehabilitation planning and for monitoring rehabilitation progress and success.

 

They are also required to submit security bonds which are intended to cover the full cost of rehabilitation in the event of default by the titleholder.

 

Rehabilitation must be undertaken progressively over the life of the mine.

 

 ‘Rehabilitation’ is defined by the Mining Act 1992 as ‘the treatment or management of disturbed land or water for the purpose of establishing a safe and stable environment’.

 

As a minimum, all rehabilitation undertaken by a mine operator should result in a post mining land use that is agreed through a Mining Operations Plan and that is safe, stable, non-polluting and sustainable.

 

Before any mining can begin the mine operator will be required to pay the NSW Government a security deposit which can be accessed in the event the operator fails to rehabilitate the site of operations to a standard which meets government requirements. The security held is regularly reviewed and revised as required to ensure the rehabilitation obligations can be met.


What happens at the post-production stage for petroleum production?

 

Like mine operators, petroleum producers are required to rehabilitate areas of their operations once those operations have ended. This will include cementing and plugging wells, and rehabilitating well sites and surrounding land.

 

In the case of petroleum production, the rehabilitation required of a petroleum operator will be detailed in the conditions of the producer’s petroleum title (such as the Petroleum Exploration Licence or Petroleum Production Lease). Rehabilitation requirements should also be detailed in a land access arrangement with the landholder on whose land the operations were undertaken.

 

Before operations can begin, the petroleum operator will be required to pay the NSW Government a security deposit which can be accessed in the event the operator fails to rehabilitate the site of operations to a standard which meets government requirements.

 

[1]     NSW Government Mining (NSW Trade and Investment, Division of Resources and Energy, accessed August 2014)

[2]     NSW Government ESG3: Mining Operations Plan (MOP) Guidelines (NSW Trade and Investment, Division of Resources and Energy, September 2013)

 

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