The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released the first stage of its proposed Integrated Mining Policy (IMP), which will reform the assessment, determination and regulation of State Significant mining developments. The IMP is intended to improve transparency, consistency and accountability for assessment decisions relating to State Significant mining developments.

It will apply to all State significant mining developments, including coal and mineral mines. It will not apply to petroleum operations, coal seam gas proposals or exploration activities.

Consultation with the community and industry regarding the IMP will occur in two stages.

The first consultation stage commenced on 28 May 2015 with the release of the:

  1. Mine Application Guidelines;
  2. Standardised Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs); and
  3. Swamp Offsets Policy.

THE STAGE ONE DOCUMENTS

The second consultation stage is anticipated to occur in the coming months and will involve exhibiting the remaining Integrated Mining Policy documents.

The Stage One Documents

The Mine Application Guidelines set out the requirements for the environmental assessment documents to be submitted by a proponent for State Significant mining development, being the:

  1. preliminary environmental assessment (PEA); and
  2. environmental impact statement (EIS).

Standardised SEARs, issued in response to a proponent’s PEA, will allow proponents of State Significant mining projects to have a project’s development application, environment protection licence and mining lease assessed at the same time, as part of the EIS prepared for the project.

The standardised SEARS may, in some circumstances, be modified to meet project specific requirements.

The Swamp Offset Policy addresses the calculation and provision of offsets for subsidence impacts of long wall coal mining on upland swaps and associated threatened species. It provides an extension of the framework outlined in the NSW Biodiversity Offsets Policy for Major Projects (Offsets Policy).

HAVE YOUR SAY

The Stage One Documents are available for review and comment here until 9 July 2015.