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Mining rehabilitation reforms

The Queensland Government is working to improve rehabilitation and financial assurance outcomes in the resources sector via the delivery of a broad package of reforms.

The reform package proposes to deliver:

  • a higher level of environmental performance
  • rehabilitation investment in the State’s resources industry
  • better protection of the State’s financial interests.

A key milestone in the delivery of this reform package is the passage of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018 by Queensland Parliament on 14 November 2018.

Managing residual risks in Queensland's resources industry

The Managing Residual Risks in Queensland discussion paper (PDF, 377K) presents a range of proposals that will strengthen the State’s residual risk framework. Residual risks are those risks remaining at a rehabilitated resource site once surrender of the environmental authority has occurred.

The proposals aim to ensure that these risks are comprehensively understood and their costs considered so the State will have the funds necessary to ensure enduring rehabilitation outcomes in Queensland.

To have your say on the proposed implementation of the State’s residual risk framework, read the Managing Residual Risks in Queensland discussion paper (PDF, 377K) and respond to the questions. You can submit your feedback via:

Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018

The Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill 2018 (MERFP Bill) forms a key part of the Government’s response to issues raised in the Review of Queensland’s Financial Assurance Framework (PDF)and the Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland discussion paper (PDF).

The MERFP Bill:

  1. replaces the financial assurance arrangements for resource activities under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 with a new financial provisioning scheme, and changes how the estimated rehabilitation cost for an environmental authority is calculated.  
  2. amends the Environmental Protection Act 1994 to introduce new requirements for the progressive rehabilitation and closure of mined land.

The MERFP Bill will become an Act once it receives Royal Assent by the Governor. It will be available from http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/.

Financial provisioning scheme

The new financial provisioning scheme will be managed by a scheme manager, and financial assurance will be provided by paying a contribution to a financial provisioning fund and/or the giving of surety to the scheme manager. The scheme manager is a statutory officer and will manage the fund contributions and the sureties on behalf of the State. Commencement of the scheme is expected to be in the first half of 2019.

For the scheme manager to make a decision on the required financial provisioning scheme contribution or amount of surety, the Department of Environment and Science will provide the scheme manager with its determination of the estimated rehabilitation cost (ERC). This determination will be made under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. The scheme manager will then apply a risk assessment framework to make its decision.

Estimated Rehabilitation Cost (ERC) Guideline

The Department of Environment and Science is amending the existing guideline ‘Financial Assurance under the Environmental Protection Act 1994’ to relate to financial assurance for prescribed environmentally relevant activities only. The Department is also creating a new ERC guideline (for resource activities) to support commencement of the MERFP Bill.

The former Financial Assurance calculators are being renamed as estimated rehabilitation cost (ERC) calculators and are being updated to improve functionality and ensure the rates are contemporary.

Together, the ERC calculators and the guideline ‘Estimated rehabilitation cost under the Environmental Protection Act 1994' will support the financial provisioning scheme.

Progressive rehabilitation and closure of mined land

The MERFP Bill, once it receives Royal Assent will amend the Environmental Protection Act 1994 to implement key elements of the Mined Land Rehabilitation Policy (PDF, 1.3M) and introduce the new requirement for a Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan (PRC plan).

This requirement will be integrated into the existing environmental authority processes for new mines, minimising the regulatory burden on government and industry. All mining projects carried out on a mining lease that make a site-specific environmental authority application will be required to provide a PRC plan. If approved by the administering authority, a stand-alone Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan schedule (PRCP schedule) will be given to the applicant together with the environmental authority. The PRCP schedule will contain milestones with completion dates for achieving progressive rehabilitation of the mine site.

The MERFP Bill also provides transitional arrangements for the application of the PRC plan requirement to existing mines. Transition will commence at a date set by the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 (EP Regulation). This has been termed the ‘progressive rehabilitation and closure plan start date’ (PRCP start date) and is likely to be in the latter half of 2019, in order to better prepare industry and government for the new requirements.

A Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan guideline is being prepared to assist applicants in developing a PRC plan.

Where can I find more information?

Visit the Queensland Treasury’s website for more information about the financial provisioning scheme and the broader package of reforms in general.

More information about the implementation of PRC plan requirements will be coming soon to this website in the form of a frequently asked questions page.

For any other queries about the mining rehabilitation reform, please email .

Last updated
19 November 2018