Planning & land use
Mining is a legitimate, lawful and extremely productive use of land. It is often the best use of a given area and generates significant economic activity and returns for a small land use. We support a strategic and scientific approach to land use planning. Decisions about whether a mine should be approved need to be based on detailed evidence and facts.
Before mining begins, the area is assessed to determine whether mining can happen in a way that also meets standards for the environment and surrounding communities.
There is significant state and federal government legislation, regulation and policy that sets the framework for assessing mining project proposals. Proposals are judged against government criteria for potential impacts on air quality, noise, water, land and biodiversity before the government makes a decision on whether they can be reduced or managed.
The Strategic Regional Land Use Plans have been developed in response to concerns about the expansion of mining and competition for land with the agricultural industry. The first two plans, released in 2012, cover the Upper Hunter and New England North West regions.The plans provide a strategic framework for identifying biophysical strategic agricultural land – high value land with soil and water resources suitable for intensive uses like regular cropping – and critical industry clusters, like the Hunter Valley viticulture and equine industries.
Mining projects that fall on “strategic agricultural land” or “critical industry clusters” must undergo a ‘gateway’ assessment process by a panel of independent experts. The panel provides technical agricultural, mining and hydrological advice which is taken into account when the NSW Government and the independent Planning Assessment Commission consider the proposal to mine.
Mining uses just 0.1% of land across the state. Even if mining expands, it will only ever use minimal land compared to agriculture and conservation. For more details on the Strategic Regional Land Use Plans, see Land Use Facts.
NSW mining has existed alongside other industries, like agriculture and horse breeding, for over a century and will continue to do so. These industries an all important parts of the NSW economy, and NSW mining wants to keep a strong and diversified state.
Download our NSW Planning System Review White Paper submission.