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Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (Vic)

The Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA) provides a contemporary legislative framework for the development and regulation of:

  • the mineral exploration and mining industry, including gold, coal, and mineral sands
  • extractive industries (quarries) for the extraction of stone resources including gravel, sand, soil, building stone and clay (but does not include fine clay, kaolin or salt). This is in combination with land use controls under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

As of 1 January 2010, Victoria's extractive industries are also regulated under the MRSDA. Find out more about Victoria's extractive industries regulation.

The MRSDA addresses licensing and approvals, and other issues including compensation, rehabilitation and royalties for extractive industries, mineral exploration and development activities.

The Act seeks to encourage an economically viable mining industry which makes the best use of mineral resources in a way that is compatible with the economic, social and environmental objectives of the State. A series of Regulations and guidelines also apply to mineral exploration and development activities

Additionally, the MRSDA applies to the extraction or removal of stone from land if the main purpose is for the sale or commercial use of the stone or for use in construction, building, road or manufacturing works.

The MRSDA defines "mineral" as any substance that occurs naturally as part of the earth's crust (excluding water, stone, peat or petroleum) including:

  • oil shale and coal
  • hydrocarbons and mineral oils contained in oil shale or coal or extracted from oil shale or coal by chemical or industrial processes
  • bentonite, fine clay, kaolin, lignite, minerals in alluvial form (including titanium, zirconium, rare earth elements and platinoid group elements), quartz crystals and zeolite.

Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990

Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2013

Other relevant legislation

Mineral, extractive and petroleum exploration and development activities are also subject to a range of other Commonwealth and State legislation. Relevant Commonwealth legislation includes the Native Title Act 1993, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and Part IIA of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984.

Relevant Victorian legislation includes the Environment Effects Act 1978, the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.

Note: Commonwealth legislation relating to beyond the 3 nautical mile limit no longer falls under the Victorian jurisdiction. This is now administered by Commonwealth authorities - National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority and the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator.

Links to legislation

Victorian legislation

Go to "Legislation & Bills" then select "Victorian Law Today" and search for desired Act or Regulations alphabetically.

Search for desired Act under 'Act name search'.

More information

Introduction to the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990

The Victorian Division of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA Victoria) and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) have compiled the Introduction to the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990. It aims to simply answer common questions about the MRSDA and may be useful for a quick reference The 2017 update is the third version of the guide, which was first published in 2000 and updated in 2008. You can download the 2017 update from the Minerals Council of Australia website.

Please note that this should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act (MRSDA) or for legal advice.

Leading Practice Sustainable Development Program for the Mining Industry handbooks

The Commonwealth Government's Leading Practice Sustainable Development Program for the Mining Industry aims to promote sustainable development and industry self-regulation through the proactive adoption of leading practice principles. It is managed by the Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The program has developed a series of handbooks to encourage best practice in a range of mining activities including hazardous materials management, mine closure and rehabilitation, community health and safety, and community engagement. These handbooks were developed in consultation with industry and state and territory government agencies including Earth Resources Regulation.

View the full list of handbooks to download.