The amendments also involve the deletion of conditions relating to matters that are already regulated by other government departments, such as the Department of Planning as well as other outdated and redundant conditions.
The removal of the duplications will cut the number of conditions for future standard coal mining leases in NSW from 24 conditions to nine. The standard ‘Mining Lease Conditions (Coal) 2013’ now relate to the following limited matters:
- landholder notification following the grant or renewal of the lease
- satisfactory rehabilitation of disturbance following the completion of activities
- the preparation of approved Mining Operations Plans, an annual rehabilitation report and annual compliance report
- notification to the Department in the event of an environmental incident which breaches the mining lease, the Mining Act 1992 (NSW)or the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW)
- the preparation of ‘eligible subsidence management plans’ which will dictate the level of subsidence that is permitted to be caused by underground mining operations
- optimisation of resource recovery of the minerals that are the subject of the mining lease
- the payment of a security deposit for the fulfillment of obligations under the mining lease, and
- making every reasonable attempt to enter into cooperation agreements with overlapping title holders.
The purpose of these amendments is to minimise the costs of doing business in NSW and boost investment certainty. Significant obligations which have now been deleted from the standard conditions relate to environmental harm, working requirements (i.e. minimum number of personnel), blasting, safety, prevention of soil erosion and pollution, roads and tracks, trees and vegetation and indemnities.
This means that if your mining lease is granted or renewed after 17 October 2013 you can expect significantly reduced obligations to be imposed under the new mining lease conditions. All mining leases granted or renewed prior to this date will continue to operate under the previous conditions that were issued.