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Integrated Mining Policy in NSW

The Integrated Mining Policy (IMP) is a whole-of-government project that aims to:

  • improve the regulation and assessment of major mining projects
  • strike a balance between the significant benefits mining can bring to the economy and the potential impacts on communities and the environment
  • help manage the environmental and social impacts of mining
  • ensure the community has access to relevant and timely information about mining projects.

Importantly, the IMP does not reduce environmental standards or community consultation requirements.

The Department takes a lead role in assessing resources proposals and issuing development consent for approved projects, with input from a range of other government agencies. 


As part of this, it takes into account the benefits and costs of a resources proposal, including the economic, social and environmental impacts at a local and State level.


The Integrated Mining Policy improves transparency, consistency and accountability for assessment decisions by helping guide proponents to develop applications and compliance reports that better communicate key issues that are of interest to government and the community.


The Government is committed to a balanced approach to mining regulation, which supports increasing investment in regional NSW, while managing potential impacts on the environment, local communities and existing businesses. 


The IMP is a key regulatory reform that will help deliver this commitment. 


The Government is actively considering proposals for further reforms, including those raised in submissions that were received during the IMP consultation processes.


The IMP was exhibited for public comment in two stages in mid-2015. The Government considered all submissions and adopted feedback within the scope of the IMP.


The IMP documents that have been finalised can be downloaded from the list at the bottom of this page. A brief summary of each document can be viewed by expanding the panels below.

These Guidelines help proponents applying for new or modified mining and coal seam gas projects to provide clear, consistent and robust information to support claims made in their Environmental Impact Statements.


The Guidelines focus on two key matters the consent authority must consider in determining a development application – the collective public interest of households in NSW and the development’s likely environmental, social and economic impacts on the local area.


Technical working papers will be developed to support the Guidelines over coming months, in consultation with stakeholders.


The Indicative Secretary’s Environmental Assessments Requirements (SEARs) outline common assessment requirements that proposed mining operations must address in the Environmental Impact Statement as part of a development application. 

 

The Indicative SEARs provide proponents with early guidance on the key issues to consider when developing a proposal, and how to inform communities of the key issues that are always considered when assessing all mining applications.

 

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment is authorised to prepare environmental assessment requirements for a development application. This may include adding to or subtracting from the Indicative SEARs, depending on factors like the context of the proposal, nearby communities and specific environmental risks.

 

For clarity, the Indicative SEARs are not ‘standard SEARs’ in the context of the statutory processes outlined in clause 3 (9) and 7 (3) of Schedule 2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.


The Mine Application Guideline helps proponents describe their proposal in a way that highlights the key design features, key environmental considerations and how the mine design process has taken economic, social and environmental impacts into account.

 

The Mine Application Guideline helps the proponent to prepare for a development application by explaining what is proposed and why. 


A full accounting of environmental impacts and mitigation actions is expected in the Environmental Impact Statement.

The Annual Review is one of several compliance tools used by the Government to ensure that approval conditions for mining operations are enforced.


The Annual Review Guideline brings together the annual reporting requirements of the Division of Resources and Energy and the Department of Planning and Environment into a single, concise document. This Guideline also refocusses the content of an annual review into a targeted compliance document, requiring concise self-reporting. 

 

This Guideline does not integrate the reporting requirements of the Environment Protection Authority. The Government is considering options to further streamline reporting requirements.

This Guideline encourages mine operators to publish appropriate operational and compliance information on their websites in a clear and transparent manner. This improves transparency and may also meet certain reporting obligations. For example, if the provision of monitoring data is required as a condition on approval, it may be able to be reported online.

 

This Guideline does not integrate the online reporting requirements of the Environment Protection Authority. The Government is considering options to further streamline online reporting requirements.

Independent audits are one of several compliance tools utilised by the Government to ensure that approval conditions for mining operations are enforced. 


The Independent Audit Guideline provides a clear process that the Government expects will be followed during the conduct of an independent audit. This includes the determination of scope, criteria, auditors, audit process and report finalisation.

The Water Regulation Overview provides a summary of the water policy, legislation and regulation that applies to resources developments in NSW. It also includes key federal policy and legislation. 

 

The Overview provides industry and the community with a reasonable understanding of water regulation in NSW and what each key instrument sets out to achieve. It summarises existing policy and is not an exhaustive overview.

 

 


Other IMP documents, such as the Planning Agreement Guideline, are being revised by the Government following public consultations. All documents will be published once finalised.


Once all the IMP documents are finalised, the Government will consult with stakeholders about the implementation process. If there is any inconsistency between the IMP and the conditions of existing approvals, the requirements of an approval will take precedence.


IMP Documents

Next steps

Other IMP documents, such as the Planning Agreement Guideline, are being revised by the Government following public consultations. All documents will be published once finalised.

 

Once all the IMP documents are finalised, the Government will consult with stakeholders about the implementation process. If there is any inconsistency between the IMP and the conditions of existing approvals, the requirements of an approval will take precedence.



Page last updated: 18/12/2015