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Environmental Review Committee (ERC)

What is an Environmental Review Committee?

An Environmental Review Committee (ERC) is a group of stakeholders who review the environmental performance of a mine or quarry against its operational activities.

What does an ERC do?

The purpose of an ERC is to bring people together to explore alternative strategies and build collaborative relationships between industry and community.

The work and focus of an ERCs is usually kept local to the operational activity, and members are residents, landholders, business operators or groups of people with an active interest in the mine or quarry.

Why form an ERC?

An ERC is typically established as a condition under licensing approval to operate. Some ERCs are established voluntarily.

The ERC provides stakeholders and the local community with a formal opportunity to work with industry, provide feedback and seek clarity about work site operations from the mine or quarry operator. 

Who is responsible for setting up an ERC?

It's the responsibility of a mine or quarry operator to set up an ERC. It can be formed voluntarily, or be a licence  condition.

If establishing an ERC is a licence condition; the licence holder has a legal obligation to comply.

If Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) requires a licence holder to form an ERC the decision is made based on the project:

  • size
  • anticipated longevity
  • proximity to sensitive environmental or community locations
  • potential for adverse impacts recommendations of an Environmental Effects Statement (EES).

What type of environmental issues are reviewed?

Environmental issues are unique to each mine and quarrying activity and may include:

  • noise
  • dust
  • blasting
  • weed management
  • visual amenity
  • water discharge.

Who is involved in an ERC?

Members commonly include mine and quarry site representatives, licence holders, local council and community representatives, and stakeholders from government and non-government organisations.

While every ERC is different, typical committee members may include representatives of:

Who are the stakeholders?

A stakeholder is any agency, company, group or individual involved directly with or impacted by the mine or quarry operations.

This may include people from industry, community, local, state and federal government departments, community groups, Indigenous groups, conservation groups, surrounding community, non-government organisations, small businesses and immediate neighbours.

How much authority does an ERC have?

An ERC has no law-making authority, however ERC members from regulatory organisations have the power to follow up non-compliance or environmental issues.

Although the committee cannot approve or vary a licence holder's work plan, or authorise an enforcement action, it may make recommendations or suggestions.

Recommendations are generally considered by the department, local council and other government agencies when assessing proposed changes to the site's operating conditions, or when considering compliance or enforcement action.

Key points

An ERC:

  • is a group of stakeholders who review environmental performance relating to a mine or quarry.
  • has no law-making authority.
  • is often formed as a condition of approval to operate under a licence.

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