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Guidance Note on Reportable Events for Mineral and Extractive Operations

Reportable Events

This booklet provides information about Reportable Events to holders of Mining Licences and Extractive Industry Work Authorities issued in accordance with the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.

It also describes the compliance obligations of Mining Licence and Extractive Industry Work Authority holders with respect to reporting requirements.

Other relevant legislation comprises:

  • Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2013
  • Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Extractive Industries) Regulations 2010

Refer also to publications on the Energy and Earth Resources Website:

Earth resources online store

For further information contact:

Earth Resources Information Centre

Address: Level 15, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm

Phone: 1300 366 356

Foreword

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) Earth Resources Regulation (ERR) regulates Victoria's mineral and extractive resources by administering the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA) in relation to:

  • public safety;
  • environment;
  • infrastructure; and
  • sustainability.

The purpose of the MRSDA is to encourage economically viable mining and extractive industries which make the best use of earth resources in a way that is compatible with the economic, social and environmental objectives of the State.

The intent of this guideline is to provide an explanation of the requirements of the MRSDA, and associated regulations, applicable to Reportable Events which may occur in mines and quarries.

Contents

  • Introduction to Reportable Events
  • Duties relating to Reportable Events under the MRSDA
  • When does the Legislation apply?
  • What is a Reportable Event?
  • When Do You Notify DEDJTR?
  • How Do You Notify DEDJTR?
  • What Information Must You Provide?
  • Appendix
    • Appendix A - List of Definitions
    • Appendix B - DEDJTR ERR District Manager Contact Details

Introduction to Reportable Events

Reportable event notification requires Mining Licence or Extractive Industry Work Authority holders to report events that occur within mining licence or work authority which result in, or have the potential to result in, significant impacts to public safety, the environment or infrastructure.

In general, reportable events may be related to:

  • Explosions, fires or floods
  • stability of excavated slopes or constructed earth structures;
  • environmental impacts on water, land and air;
  • safety of the public;
  • safe use of private property;
  • impacts to infrastructure external to the site; or
  • site closure and rehabilitation.

The intent of reporting is to ensure that DEDJTR is notified of all events considered to be significant and that are abnormal to expected or usual operations.

The reason for the reporting requirement is to ensure that DEDJTR is aware of any risk to public safety, the environment, infrastructure or assets external to the site and the sustainability of the operation(s). DEDJTR may also require notification to relevant stakeholders to ensure they are made aware of actual, and potential, risks arising from mining or extractive activities.

NOTE: Under Section 41AC and Section 77KA of the MRSDA, it is the obligation of the Mining Licence or Extractive Industry Work Authority holder to notify DEDJTR of a Reportable Event.

Whilst the Mining Licence or Extractive Industry Work Authority holder may appoint a site manager, who may be delegated the task of reporting an event, the ultimate legal responsibility rests with the Mining Licence or Extractive Industry Work Authority holder.

There may be additional incident notification requirements in other legislative and regulatory provisions in Victoria which apply in specific circumstances. The requirement to report an incident to another regulatory authority does not preclude the requirement to report an incident to DEDJTR.

When does the Legislation Apply?

The notification requirements in the MRSDA apply to all prescribed Reportable Events that occur at a mine or quarry site. This includes both open pit and underground operations.

For the purpose of this guideline, a mine means any land on which mining is taking place under a mining licence. Mining means extracting minerals from land for the purpose of producing them commercially, and includes processing and treating ore.

For the purpose of this guideline, a quarry means a pit or excavation made in land below the natural surface for the purpose of extracting or removing stone if a primary purpose of the extraction or removal is the sale or commercial use of the stone or the use of the stone in construction, building, road or manufacturing works.

See section 4 of the MRSDA and Appendix A of this Guideline for further definitions.

What is a Reportable Event?

Reportable events are events which occur at a mine or quarry site and result in, or have the potential to result in, significant impacts to public safety, the environment, infrastructure or assets external to the site.

They encompass actual or potential risks to the safe and stable conditions within, or external to, the site.

Reportable Events:

  • are not events that occur as expected during normal operations, even though they may be significant.
  • are abnormal events or occurrences that are significant and require a specific response.

Reportable events fall into 3 categories:

  1. visible and current events that have or are in the process of happening;
  2. events that may not be visible but can be indicated by monitoring or inferred from other noted occurrences; or
  3. events that may contribute to a significant increase in risk to external parties.

The following provide examples of events that may fall within the three categories of reportable events.

1. Visible and current events that have or are in the process of happening:

  1. An explosion or fire (including smoke) resulting from site operations that has the potential to impact offsite.
  2. The movement of a batter, slope, floor, wall or roof, in part or whole near a terminal face, such that a volume of material, significant to the scale of operation, has been displaced. This may be evidenced by the presence of tension cracks, slippage along joints, distorted surfaces or mis-aligned infrastructure.
  3. A significant and unexpected increase in inflow of water to operations.
  4. The presence of significant concentrations of gas (e.g. methane, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide).
  5. An incidence of flyrock from blasting being ejected beyond the designated area.
  6. An unexpected or unauthorised offsite discharge.
  7. The presence of acid drainage from dumps, in excess of the volumes anticipated by management plans.
  8. An injury to a member of the public offsite, resulting from mining or quarrying operations.
  9. The failure of key infrastructure (such as pumps for water management) over what is expected to be an extended period, such that control measures cannot be maintained.
  10. A breach or non-compliance with the Mining Licence or Extractive Industry Work Authority conditions (e.g. clearing of native vegetation or other works outside the approved area; slopes, benches, batter heights or underground workings that differ from design as contained in the work plan; failure or expected inability to meet a rehabilitation program).

2. Events indicated through monitoring or inferred from other noted occurrences:

  1. A potentially unstable area as indicated by an increased rate of monitored ground movement.
  2. Where consistent monitoring indicates a significant and unexpected change in; groundwater movement, ground movement, slope pore pressure or aquifer pressures, which require modification or implementation of control measures and/or access procedures.
  3. The redesign of a batter, slope, floor, wall or roof to meet conditions different from those previously designed for (e.g. significant change in geology, material properties or groundwater conditions).
  4. Exceedance of authorised environmental emissions such as noise or dust.

3. Events that may contribute to a significant increase in risk to external parties:

  1. Failure to meet work program objectives where those objectives relate to batter, slope, floor, wall or roof stability.
  2. Imminent overtopping or instability in storage structures due to an abnormal weather event.
  3. The inability to meet work program targets concerned with stability related works that may have the consequence of increasing stability risks

If you are uncertain about whether an event is reportable under any of the occurrences referred to above, contact the DEDJTR ERR District Manager.

When Do You Notify DEDJTR?

The MRSDA requires the holder of a Mining Licence or Extractive Industry Work Authority to notify DEDJTR as soon as practicable after they become aware of a Reportable Event at their mine or quarry site.

As soon as practicable, is considered to be the period immediately following the initial site response to the event to ensure safety.

All Mining Licence and Extractive Industry Work Authority holders should ensure that there are procedures in place at any quarry or mine under their management and control to provide notification of a Reportable Event as soon as practicable.

How Do You Notify DEDJTR?

In the first instance, DEDJTR requests that you should telephone the relevant DEDJTR ERR District Manager (see Appendix B for contact details). If you are unable to get in contact with the District Manager, or it is after business hours, call the afterhours number.

Afterhours - 0419 597 010

The DEDJTR ERR District Manager may require certain actions to be taken dependent on the nature of the event and these will be communicated at the time of notification or in subsequent follow-up discussions.

What Information Must You Provide?

When initially reporting a reportable event you will be asked for:

  • the name of the site operator, tenement number and location of the place where the event occurred;
  • a brief description of the event;
  • a brief description of what actions have been taken in response to the event (e.g. to minimise event consequences);
  • contact details of a person at the event site; and
  • whether the police, an ambulance or other emergency service or regulatory authority is attending or has attended the scene.

The officer receiving your call will record details of the Reportable Event and issue you with a reference number. The reference number is your proof of notification.

Appendix A: List of Definitions

The MRSDA and associated Regulations contain the legislative definitions for Reportable Events.

The following provides some explanation of some general terms used in defining Reportable Events.

Abnormal to expected event
An occurrence deviating from normal site experience and not a typical, usual, or regularly observed response to mine or quarry operations.

Breach
A breach is a failure to comply with the Mining Licence or Extractive Industry Work Authority.

Non-compliance
Non-compliance is a failure to cooperate or comply with regulatory requirements.

Reportable Event
An event, abnormal to expected or usual operations, that results, or may result, in significant impacts on public safety, the environment or infrastructure.

Significant event
A potentially substantial, important or large event which exceeds the scale of normal occurrences at the site.

Slope failure
A slope failure is one in which a slope collapses.

Uncontrolled event
An event that is not managed or kept within bounds of mine design or operational practices.

Unexpected event
An event that is not considered likely or probable to happen, based on planned mine performance or previous site operation.

Appendix B: DEDJTR ERR District Manager Contact Details

For updated contact details visit the Contact Us web page