Benambra

The following information outlines steps being taken by Earth Resources Regulation to monitor and rehabilitate a former copper-zinc mining site, 19km east of Benambra, in East Gippsland.

For information about potential future mining activities at this site please visit the Stockman Mine Project.

Former Benambra Mine

From 1992 to 1996, Denehurst Ltd operated the Benambra copper-zinc mine, 19km east of Benambra, in East Gippsland. The mining operation involved:

  • extraction of ore from the underground mines;
  • an ore processing operations plant at the Waxlip Spur site; and
  • a tailings storage facility (called Lake St Barbara).

In 1996, the mine was placed into administration with the operator defaulting on their environmental rehabilitation obligations.  In 2004, the mining lease expired and as a result, the Waxlip Spur site and the tailings storage facility (as they are on public land) reverted to the State of Victoria. At this time, Earth Resources Regulation commenced maintenance and rehabilitation works at the site.

a. Waxlip Spur site

The State completed rehabilitation works at the Waxlip Spur site in 2006, including the removal of processing plant infrastructure, to ensure public safety and to protect the environment.

In 2018, Earth Resources Regulation engaged an Environment Protection Authority appointed auditor to undertake an environmental audit and to verify any further clean-up plans for the site. In 2020, Earth Resources Regulation, with the assistance of technical specialists and the environmental auditor, commenced further works at the site including improving drains below the former site, removing acidic sediment and controlling erosion. This work is necessary to protect the surrounding forest and aquatic ecosystems.

Earth Resources Regulation continues to undertake works to rehabilitate the site in two phases:

Phase 1 – Interim Clean up works

Interim clean-up works aim to address any immediate risk of any potential contaminants moving offsite during rain events that could have an impact on the surrounding environment and erosion at the site has been completed.  This involves measures to contain and treat runoff within the site and continued monitoring  of water quality and the surrounding environment until the long-term rehabilitation measures are identified and implemented.

Phase 2 – Long-term rehabilitation

The primary focus of long-term rehabilitation is to satisfactorily rehabilitate the site to a condition which is safe, stable, sustainable, non-polluting and consistent with surrounding land use. This phase of rehabilitation of the site is being informed by detailed investigations undertaken by technical experts.

The State will remain responsible for the Waxlip Spur section of the site until this area is fully rehabilitated.

b. Tailings Storage Facility (Lake St. Barbara)

The tailings storage facility was rehabilitated by the State of Victoria in 2006 to ensure it is safe and stable.  The facility continues to be maintained and monitored by Earth Resources Regulation.

Water quality monitoring has been undertaken since the site was rehabilitated and this continues.

For information about potential future mining activities at the Benambra site, please visit the Stockman Mine Project. A new Mining Licence for the area was granted to WHSP Stockman Pty Ltd in 2010 and renewed in 2017.  An infrastructure Mining Licence for the tailings storage facility was granted in 2018.

Feedback and contact details

If you have any queries or feedback regarding the project you can contact us.

Earth Resources Regulation
P: (03) 8392 6050
E: ERRfeedback@ecodev.vic.gov.au

Page last updated: 01 Dec 2021