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Work Plan, Planning Consent and Other Requirements for Commencement of Work under a Mining Licence or a Prospecting Licence

This document briefly describes the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources’ (the department’s) requirements for a mining work plan and additional requirements before work can commence under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA).

Work plan

The work plan for a mining licence must contain the information listed in Schedule 15 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2013, which includes a rehabilitation plan, environmental management plan and a community engagement plan. If the work program submitted as part of the prospecting licence application satisfies all the requirements of Schedule 16 and the proposed work is not on agricultural land; you may seek to have the work program approved as the work plan (refer to section 40(2AA) of the MRSDA).

Work plan and planning permit

The work plan cannot be approved until any required planning approval has been granted (MRSDA section 40(4)(a)). The planning scheme covering your licence area will most probably require a planning permit for mining activities.

However you must prepare your work plan in consultation with the department before you apply for a planning permit. The department has an integrated mining work plan and planning approval process to ensure that all issues that will affect a mining proposal are raised at the earliest possible stage rather than emerge during the planning permit process.

You must submit a draft work plan within 6 months after licence grant (refer to condition 6 of the mining licence document). The department will work with you to develop a draft work plan.

The development of a draft work plan will require an initial site meeting. The department is required under 77TE of the MRSDA to give a copy of the work plan to every referral authority (as defined in the Planning and Environment Act 1987) that it considers should be given the work plan. This includes those referral authorities listed at Clause 66 of the Victorian Planning Provisions. Therefore the site meeting will include all of the relevant referral authorities and a representative from the municipal council. The purpose of the site meeting is to identify all of the issues that should be addressed in the draft work plan.

Once the draft work plan is complete it will be referred to the referral authorities for consent to statutory endorsement. The endorsed work plan which receives statutory endorsement will include all of the conditions requested by the referral authorities. Statutory endorsement of a work plan signals that it is suitable to support a planning permit application.

Section 77TH of the MRSDA provides the opportunity to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a review of a decision to either:

  • refuse statutory endorsement of the work plan or variation to the approved work plan; or
  • statutorily endorse the work plan or variation to the approved work plan subject to conditions.

Statutory endorsement of work plans removes the duplication of referrals that previously existed. When you submit a work plan which has received statutory endorsement council will not repeat the referrals already undertaken.

The work plan is approved after planning approval has been granted. Conditions may be attached to the work plan approval.

Environment Effects Statement (EES)

Some mining proponents choose to prepare an Environment Effects Statement (EES) instead of applying for a planning permit. The MRSDA (section 42(7)), and the State Section of all planning schemes allows the proponent of a mining proposal to either apply for a planning permit or elect to prepare an EES. An EES can also be required at the discretion of the Minister for Planning. You should consult this department immediately if you are considering the EES route.

Rehabilitation bond

A rehabilitation bond will be set by the department. The bond amount will be determined in consultation with the Crown land Manager if the work plan covers Crown land or in consultation with the landowner and the municipal council if the work plan covers private land. The amount of the bond will be finalised after you have obtained the planning permit.

Written consent or registered compensation agreement with landowners etc

  • Private Land. If you intend to work on private land (including land to a depth of 100 m) you must obtain the written consent of the owners and occupiers; or make compensation agreements with them; or by agreement, purchase the land. Compensation disputes may be resolved by the Land Valuation Division of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal or referred to the Supreme Court. Compensation agreements should include such information as Parish, Crown Allotment numbers and Section (if applicable). You must lodge compensation agreements with the department for registration. In circumstances where the licensee is unable to determine the name and address of the owners and occupiers, these requirements may be waived (section 43(2) of the MRSDA).
  • Restricted Crown land. If you propose to work on restricted Crown land (as defined in the MRSDA) you must obtain consent of the Crown Land Minister. You should consult the local Parks Victoria office before applying for this consent. Your licence document will provide guidance as to the land status.

Please note that land which is the subject of a licence granted under Part 3A of the Victorian Plantations Corporation Act 1993 is considered as private land and their consent is required.

Water supply catchment. If you propose to do work in a water supply catchment, that is, on land that is owned by, vested in or managed by Melbourne Water or an Authority under the Water Act 1989, you must obtain consent from that Board or Authority.

Notice of intention to commence work

You must give 7 days’ notice to the Chief Inspector of your intention to commence work.

You must also give 7 days’ notice to the owners and occupiers of land on which you intend to work. If you intend to work on Crown land, you must give notice to the Crown land Manager at the appropriate regional department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning office.

Public highways and roads. You must give 21 days’ notice of any proposed work to the person or body having care or management of the public highway or road.

Public liability insurance

You must be insured under a policy of public liability insurance in respect of doing work under the licence, (currently a minimum of not less than $10 million). Working without public liability insurance will incur an infringement penalty. The insurance policy must not exclude any work activity that is authorised by the Approved Work Plan or the Mining Licence or Prospecting Licence.