Mining Act amendments introduced

October 23, 2015

The NSW Government has introduced several Bills to Parliament that will amend the Mining Act. The Bills are likely to pass Parliament this week unamended.
The Bills are wide-ranging and cover issues such as: the processes for allocating coal exploration titles; exploration land access procedures; exploration activity approvals; enforcement provisions & powers relating to title decisions and conditions.
We have been involved in a limited consultation period, and have secured several positive changes as a result.
Strategic Release Framework for Coal Exploration Titles
Amendments to the Mining Act establishing the legislative framework for a new coal allocation framework have been introduced to Parliament.  Concurrently, the Division of Resources and Energy has released the draft framework for the strategic release of coal and petroleum exploration licences and assessment leases for public exhibition, available here.
The framework includes for limited direct allocations to existing titleholders for defined 'operational works' (subject to market interest tests), and a strategic release framework for larger areas through competitive allocation. The draft framework is a step in the in the right direction, however there are many details that still need to be developed.
Draft Industrial Noise Guideline
The EPA has released its draft Industrial Noise Guideline for public consultation, along with supporting documents, which are available here.
Once finalised, the guideline will replace the existing Industrial Noise Policy. The draft guideline outlines a range of changes to the assessment methods and noise criteria used in noise assessments.
Draft Exploration Code of Practice: Community Consultation
The code will be applied through a condition imposed on all prospecting titles. The draft code makes it mandatory for all prospecting titleholders to prepare a community consultation strategy. The strategy is intended to be risk-based so that it is appropriate to the nature and scale of exploration activities being undertaken. A range of guidance is provided on how to meet the mandatory requirements.

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