Statutory reporting for the mining industry (schedule 16)

The information on this page applies for reporting dates up to 30 June 2019.

The Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019 commenced on 1 July 2019, and include changes to annual reporting requirements for licence holders. These changes will apply for reporting dates in the year commencing 1 July 2019 and in subsequent years. Find out more about the mineral industries regulations.

In recent years, community expectations within Victoria, and Australia generally, have increased regarding both the performance and disclosure transparency of the mining industry. These changes in expectations are reflected in the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Interim Regulations 2018 (MRSDMIIR).

Regulation 31 of the MSDMIR requires reporting in accordance with Schedule 16. Schedule 16 expands on the previous regulations to provide for a broader suite of environmental parameters typically reported. The reporting approach will improve the quality of data collected and enhance the useability of information on the environmental performance of the mining industry in Victoria.

This guideline aims to assist licensees prepare their annual reports in accordance with Schedule 16 of the MRSDMIIR.

Part 1 - General guidelines

A. Preamble

The Earth Resources Regulation unit of the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions ('the department'), is responsible for regulating the mining industry in Victoria. It administers the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA).

The department's regulatory focus is on administration of mining licences,the environmental management of those licences and the performance of licensees in respect to occupational health and safety.

Section 116 of the MRSDA and Regulation 31 of the (MRSDMIIR) require all mining operators in the State to provide annual reports on expenditure, works, land disturbance and rehabilitation, and environmental management. Schedule 16 of the MRSDMIIR sets out the information required in the annual report.

This guideline sets out departmental policies and provides guidelines for the statutory annual reporting by mining licensees.

B. Background

As the regulator for the mining industry, the department needs to be aware of the performance of licensees in respect of occupational health and safety and environmental management activities carried out, or required, on mining and exploration licences. Regulation of mining operations is facilitated through the requirement of all mining operators to prepare Work Plans. Work Plans should include, amongst other things, plans for the development of the proposed operation and associated infrastructure, for occupational health and safety, environmental management and for decommissioning and rehabilitation works.

Work Plans should also incorporate a monitoring program addressing key environmental parameters and a mechanism for reporting outcomes.

An important component of fair and transparent industry regulation is effective communication between licensees and the regulator. Within Victoria, communication is facilitated through a number of different mechanisms, including:

  • regular site visits by inspectors and environmental officers;
  • the Work Plan system, which flags significant proposed changes in site operations;
  • liaison with industry groups, such as the Victorian Minerals and Energy Council and the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria;
  • site Environmental Review Committees (where applicable);
  • statutory reporting of production levels;
  • statutory reporting of occupational health and safety performance at a site level; and statutory reporting of environmental management.

C. Purpose of the guidelines

These guidelines aim to assist licensees prepare their Schedule 16 annual returns in accordance with Regulation 31 of the MRSDMIIR.

D. Reporting under Schedule 16

Schedule 16 sets out the statutory activities and environmental reporting requirements for all mining licensees. These guidelines have been developed to assist licensees in fulfilling their obligations under Schedule 16 and reporting the required information to the department.

Licensees should note that, in accordance with Regulation 9 of the MRSDMIR, all licensees must report the annual production and sale of heavy mineral sands, brown coal and other minerals for the purposes of royalty assessment and payment. Separate 'Production and Royalty Returns' will continue to be used for those reports.

The purpose of statutory environmental reporting is twofold. First, it assists assessment of the Statewide environmental  performance and trends of the industry. For example, the information will be used to assess the area of land disturbed by mining activities in Victoria over a reporting period, compared to the area rehabilitated in that period. The department publishes statistical reports annually, based on industry-wide data amalgamated for the State. Over time, this data will be able to be used to detect Statewide trends in the environmental performance of the mining industry.

The second purpose of Schedule 16 is to collect information about environmental management on a site-specific basis. This will assist our Inspectors and Environmental Officers with calculating rehabilitation bonds and assessing environmental performance.

E. The Schedule 16 report

Standardised reporting pro forma

A standard pro forma is provided for reporting the range of details required under Schedule 16. The pro forma is available separately on the Earth Resources website.

Schedule 16: Annual activity and expenditure return (WORD - 110.6 KB)

The use of a standardised pro forma streamlines the data-collection process, ultimately saving time and resources for both operators and the department. It also ensures that all the information required under Regulation 31 is provided by the licensees and that it is comparable and available for statistical analysis of the industries across the State.

The reporting requirements are divided into six key components:

  • Expenditure
  • Production
  • Mining works
  • Land disturbance and land rehabilitation
  • Tailings dams and waste streams
  • Environmental management

Reporting guidelines

Part II of these guidelines provides further information about each element of the pro forma. The information contained in Part II has been prepared to guide licensees in completing the reporting pro forma. It includes definitions of terms used in the pro forma, methodologies for reporting and information regarding the type and level of information required.

F. Schedule 16 reporting requirements


It should be noted that an infringement notice may be issued or other regulatory action taken if the statutory reporting requirements are not met or where returns are late.

Reporting period

Licensees should ensure that they have sufficient systems in place so that they are able to report on the required information on an annual basis.

Annual activity and expenditure returns satisfying the requirements of Schedule 16 are required for each year ending 30 June and must be submitted to the department for processing by 28th July.

Sites with more than one mining licence

Where more than one mining licence exists on a site, expenditure must be reported separately for each mining licence. This requirement is to ensure that each licence complies with the licence-specific expenditure conditions.

Production data should also be reported separately for each licence unless the department has given specific approval for a licensee to combine data from a number of titles.

Other activities may be reported in aggregated form for the site (which may include multiple adjacent licences) as a whole.

Other reporting requirements

In addition to the general information on tailings required in the main pro forma, a detailed data report is required for each tailings storage facility. The reporting form - 'Tailings Storage Data Sheet', and explanatory notes for completing the form are provided as part of the Schedule 16 report pro forma. Completion of Tailings Storage Data Sheets is required for each tailings storage facility.

G. Audit of information

The department will audit the Schedule 16 information submitted through site visits and consultation with licensees.

H. Disclosure of information submitted

Current licences

Information submitted to the department through the Schedule 16 Reports will be made available to the public only through the Annual Statistical Report or in other aggregated forms. Details about specific sites will remain confidential. However, production details from the top twelve gold producers and the major coal producers are published in the Annual Statistical Report. Further, specific information may be made available at any time if it is considered to be in the public interest, but only after receiving the licensee's consent or if the Minister responsible for the administration of the MRSDA considers that consent is being withheld unreasonably.

Information may also be made available to third parties through the Freedom of Information Act process.

Expired licences

Once a licence ceases to be in force, the Minister will make the information provided under Schedule 16 available for inspection by the public (Section 116(2) of the MRSDA.

Part 2 - Explanatory notes for completing the schedule 16 report

1. Introduction

Schedule 16 of Regulation 31 of the MRSDMIIR sets out the 'Information Required in Expenditure and Activities Return – Mining Licence'.

To facilitate annual reporting of expenditure and activities by licensees, a pro forma for the return – Schedule 16 Report is available.

The Schedule 16 Report pro forma is divided into six sections, each being a key component of the reporting requirements.

The explanations refer to the respective numbered sections on the pro forma. Bolded sub-headings in the explanation derive from equivalent sub-headings in the Report.

Mining Tenement Details and Declaration

Licensees should ensure that correct mining licence numbers, licensee, operation name and operation details (if different from licensee) are shown on the front page of the report pro forma.

The declaration must be completed and signed by the licensee or person authorised to represent the licensee.

Failure to submit a report or submission of an incomplete or inaccurate report may result in regulatory action by the department

2. Expenditure

The table in Part 1 requests reports of expenditure on the licence according to the particular categories listed in Sections 1–5 of Schedule 16.

It is recognised that certain items of equipment and some consumables, may be used in more than one category (such as mining, rehabilitation and/or exploration). Licensees should allocate their expenditure to the most appropriate category and avoid double-counting. Where the approved Work Plan is for 'exploration only', all expenditure should be reported against the exploration category.

Insurance, departmental fees (except rent), bonds, transfer costs, legal costs, royalties, advertising, preparing a company prospectus, Title Searches and Fines are not allowable expenses.

Important note

A separate expenditure report should be provided for each mining licence (tenement) present at the site.

Additional expenditure report forms, if required, may be copied from the pro forma.

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Schedule 16, Section 1

This should include the wages and salaries of direct employees as well as expenditure on contractors undertaking operations associated with the licence.

It may also include the costs of the licensee's own labour associated with the operation up to $25,000 per annum. To claim an amount above $25,000 will require verification to substantiate the claim, e.g. evidence of qualifications/ experience/hours worked/rates of pay.

Schedule 16, Section 2

This should include the capital costs of plant, machinery and other equipment purchased as well as the amounts paid in the hire or rent of such equipment for use in the mining operation.

Schedule 16, Section 3

Costs to be reported here are those directly associated with administration of the licensed operation.

Allowable Overhead costs include, rent, office supplies, photocopying, tenement management, Aboriginal Heritage Surveys, equipment maintenance, accommodation, construction materials, field materials and administrative costs (including power, explosives and other non-capital items or services).

Overheads, administrative costs etc. should not exceed 20% of the total expenditure reported.

Accommodation claims should include attaching details e.g. period of accommodation, number of people, location of accommodation etc.

It should be noted that acceptance of the amount reported against administrative costs incurred in meeting compliance with the conditions of Regulation 26 is at the discretion of the department.

Schedule 16 Section 4

Rehabilitation expenses should include the total amount of expenditure on all rehabilitation works carried out within the licence area. This would include the cost of landforming activities and revegetation works actually carried out on the site. This component of expenditure should not include the development of rehabilitation plans and associated documentation.

Schedule 16, Section 5

Items that may be included here cover all expenditure on exploration activities, such as contractor expenses, sampling analysis, aeromagnetic and other surveys, geochemistry, geophysics, mapping and drilling, but not expenditure associated with the mining activity itself.

It should not include expenditure on items already reported in the previous categories.

Technical results and geological interpretation of exploration works must be separately reported in accordance with Regulation 32 of the MRSDMIIR (refer to department's publication "A Guide for Exploration and Mining Licence Holders for Reporting on Exploration Activities".

This should be the sum of the five categories in the table and will reflect the actual expenditure on the licensed area. It will assist the department in estimating total expenditure across the State.

Note that the total should not include expenditure on any items specifically excluded from the respective categories.

3. Production

Licensees should note that this report is not for royalty purposes. In accordance with Regulation 9 of the MRSDMIIR, all licensees must report the annual production and sale of heavy mineral sands, brown coal and other minerals for the purposes of royalty assessment and payment. Separate 'Production and Royalty Returns' will continue to be used for those reports.

The table in Part 2 is provided to facilitate the reporting of the quantity and value of ore or minerals mined over the reporting period as well as the metallic content, if applicable.

Most of the headings in the table are self-explanatory. However, the following should be noted:

Important note

A separate production report should be provided for each mining licence (tenement) present at the site unless the department has given specific approval for amalgamation of data from a number of titles

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A separate line of the table should be used for each type of ore or mineral produced in the operation.

The report should differentiate between the quantity mined directly from an ore body and any that was mined from historic waste materials (e.g. tailings re-treatment).

Depending on the convention for measuring the quantity of material produced, quantity may be expressed as tonnes, cubic metres, ounces or grams.

This is the market value at the time that the ore or mineral was produced from the mine.

Where relevant, the proportion (percentage) of the material produced from the mine that comprised a metal should be reported.

Important note

For operations including more than one title, licensees can choose to combine data from all titles at the site for sections three to six of the report. If you wish to take this option you must enter the relevant title numbers in the box provided at page 2 of the report form. All remaining sections of the report should then be completed using aggregate data for the nominated titles

4. Mining works

Schedule 16, Section 10(a,c,d)

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Are there any underground workings at the site?

  • If the answer to this question is 'No', proceed to section 4.2 of the pro forma.
  • If the answer is 'Yes', complete this section and then proceed.

Where a mining licence includes underground mining, licensees are required to submit an accurately surveyed and detailed scale plan of the operation, showing the current extent of all underground development. This plan must include a detailed description of any shaft or underground development and include depth and/or distance developed over the reporting period. The plan should clearly indicate dimensions, structural features, access points, ventilation, services and security measures.

The scale plan assists fulfilment of these reporting requirements and establishes a permanent record of the extent of underground workings at the site. This will be important for the safety of future works above and below the surface, on and adjacent to, the site.

A scale plan of the site should be provided to illustrate the type and scope of works carried out at the site over the reporting period. The plan should clearly indicate any additions to the site over the last reporting period. These additions would include:

  • buildings and other surface facilities and infrastructure;
  • drains, pipelines, settling dams and water dams;
  • tailings dams;
  • treatment plants;
  • waste rock storage areas;
  • areas that have been cleared in preparation for mining works; and
  • new excavation areas.

5. Land disturbance and land rehabilitation

Schedule 16, Section 11(a, b, c, d, e)

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The purpose of this section is to obtain information about the area of land disturbed by mining and the area of land rehabilitated during the reporting period.

A - Total area of land disturbed at the start of the reporting period
B - Area of land disturbed during the reporting period
C - Area of land rehabilitated during the reporting period
D - Net area of land disturbed at the end of the reporting period

For the purposes of determining the net area of land disturbed, the following formula should be used:

D = A + B - C

Definition of land conditions:
  • Disturbed land is defined as land that has been cleared of vegetation and/or soil to facilitate mining or extractive activities, such as for exploration, roads, open-cut operations, siting of plant or equipment for processing and treating ore, site offices, car parks and workshops or construction of tailings storage facilities.
  • Rehabilitated land refers to land where landforming has been completed and planting of vegetation undertaken. It is acknowledged that vegetation may not be uniformly established in all cases. Additionally, further land management (like pest, plant and animal control and erosion control works) may be required to ensure that the rehabilitation works are stable in the medium to long term.

Rehabilitation must be carried out in accordance with the approved Rehabilitation Plan for the site. If this is not feasible, licensees should discuss with the Regional Environmental Officer the need for a Work Plan Variation to specifically address the rehabilitation issues.

Proportion of the area rehabilitated over the reporting period (C above) that was revegetated with local native species.

Local native species

Local native species are those species of plants indigenous to the specific bioregion and appropriate to the land system, topography and Ecological Vegetation Class (EVC) at the site. Where conditions vary within a site, the appropriate species or mix of species may need to be changed. This information should be derived from the initial Work Plan proposal for the operation.

To calculate the proportion of the rehabilitated area that has been revegetated with local native vegetation, the following formula should be used:

% = area (ha) rehabilitated with local native vegetation X 100 total area (ha) rehabilitated (C above)

Current rehabilitation liability for the site:

Licensees are required to calculate the current rehabilitation liability of their operation. Separate guidelines are in preparation for this task but will not be available for reporting year 2003/04. Prior to release of the supplementary guidelines, licensees should assess rehabilitation liability using their own cost estimation techniques. Methods and assumptions used to derive costs should be described in the return.

6. Tailing dams and waste streams

Schedule 16, Sections 12(a,b)

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Are there any tailings dams within the licensed area?

  • If the answer to this question is 'No', proceed to section 7 of the pro forma.
  • If the answer is 'Yes', complete section 6 and the tailings storage data sheets.

NB: All tailings dams on the licensed area, whether operational or decommissioned, should be included in this response. Historical tailings deposits (any on the site that precede the current licensed operation) are not required to be reported.

Schedule 16, Section 7(e) requires licensees to report the total area of tailings dams (tailings storage facilities) on the site, while Schedule 11(a, iii), Section 12(a) requires data on the volume and composition of tailings produced.

In addition to completion of section 6 of the pro forma, licensees are requested to complete a Tailings Storage Data Sheet (TSDS) for each tailings storage facility at the site. The TSDS is attached to the rear of the pro forma. Detailed information is required in the TSDS, whereas, the pro forma report itself includes only brief reference to tailings dams and storage facilities. An explanation of the pro forma requirements is provided below.

Note that waste rock material is not considered to be tailings. Waste rock material is dealt with under Section 6.3 of the pro forma.

The table in section 6.1 of the pro forma requires a statement of the total number and area of tailings dams on the site according to their status (defined in the text box below).

Definition of status of tailings dams
  • operational refers to tailings dams that are currently being utilised as part of the treatment process within the operation. That is, tailings material from the treatment process has been discharged to the tailings dam during the reporting period.
  • care and maintenance refers to tailings dams into which no tailings material has been added during the reporting period, but where rehabilitation works have not yet commenced as the tailings dams may be utilised for tailings storage purposes again in the future.
  • partially rehabilitated refers to tailings dams upon which rehabilitation works (like backfilling) have already commenced or commenced during the reporting period but are not yet complete (see 'rehabilitated' below).
  • rehabilitated refers to those tailings dams for which landforming is complete and planting has been undertaken. Further land management and maintenance activities may still be required.

This section of the schedule is addressed by completion of the Tailings Storage Data Sheet.

This requires a report on the volume and composition of other waste streams (other than tailings) produced at the site as part of the mining operation over the reporting period.

A number of waste streams can be produced as part of a mining operation and discharged to:

  • air;
  • surface waters;
  • groundwater; and
  • land.

These waste streams may be contained within the site, or may be discharged off-site in accordance with conditions established under statutory requirements (e.g. under licence from the Environment Protection Authority - EPA).

Licensees must report both the quantity and the composition of the waste produced over the reporting period. Licensees may refer to other reporting guidelines, such as the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) guidelines or the requirements of EPA licenses, to calculate emissions and waste streams from each site.

While the Regulation requires reporting of significant waste streams, for the purposes of completeness the licensee may wish to also report on minor waste streams.

Discharges to the air

Examples of aerial waste streams include vaporous emissions from roasters, odour from ore processing, and dust.

Where emissions to air are a significant waste stream, licensees should report composition in terms of the air quality indicators specified in the State Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality Management) and/or as required under licensing requirements.

Discharges to surface waters

Surface waters may include creeks, rivers or lakes.

Examples of surface water waste streams include waste from mine dewatering activities, discharges from tailings dams or other water storage areas, on-site storage of liquid wastes in purpose-built dams or bunds and runoff from potentially contaminated areas.

Where emissions to surface waters are a significant waste stream, licensees should report composition in terms of the water quality indicators specified in the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) and/or as required under licensing requirements.

Discharges to groundwater

Examples of groundwater discharge waste streams include the reinjection of mine water back into an aquifer and infiltration of mine or other process waters to groundwater.

Where discharges to the groundwater are a significant waste stream, licensees should report composition in terms of the groundwater quality indicators specified in the State Environment Protection Policy (Groundwaters of Victoria) and/or as required under licensing requirements.

Discharges to land
Waste rock

Waste rock is the most common discharge to land and is the material that is extracted from the ground as part of the mining process, but is not required as part of ore processing.

The report should include both the volume of waste rock generated during the reporting period and its composition (using geological assay information).

Other discharges to land

In addition to waste rock, other discharges to land from mining activities may include the on-site storage or burial of other solid waste material, an inadvertent spill of material, or any other activities that could lead to land contamination within the site. Water discharged and confined within the licensed area, such as into an evaporation pond, tailings storage facility or for irrigation use, can also be defined as discharges to land.

Discharges to land contained within the licensed site are usually subject to Work Plan approvals under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 and associated Regulations.

Where discharges to land outside the licensed area and not subject to Work Plan approvals are a significant waste stream, licensees should report composition in terms of the land contamination indicators specified in the State Environment Protection Policy (Prevention and Management of Contamination of Land), where relevant, and/or as required under licensing requirements.

7. Environmental management

Schedule 16, Section 12c

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Do your approved Work Plan and/or the associated Work Plan Conditions require you to carry out environmental monitoring?

  • If the answer to this question is 'No', proceed to section 7.2 of the pro forma.
  • If the answer is 'Yes', complete this section and then proceed

The Work Plans and/or Environmental Management Plans for all large mining operations should include a site-specific monitoring program based on the key environmental issues and risks identified at the site (refer below). Common elements monitored include water quality, noise, dust and sediment.

The particular elements monitored and the way in which monitoring is undertaken should be included in the table provided in the report. A separate report should be attached setting out the results of that monitoring program.

Have there been failures to meet site specific environmental targets during the reporting period?

  • If the answer to this question is 'No', proceed to section 7.3 of the pro forma.
  • If the answer is 'Yes', complete this section and then proceed.

A table is provided for reporting details of progress towards, or failures to meet, the site-specific environmental targets and for providing details of any relevant corrective actions undertaken. These targets may be statutory or voluntary and should be specified as such within the report. Note that, where a licensee fails to meet voluntary targets (e.g. targets set in the previous year's Schedule 19 report), the licensee will not incur an enforcement action or penalty in reporting this information.

Have there been any complaints or failures to meet statutory environmental requirements during the reporting period?

  • If the answer to this question is 'No', proceed to section 8 of the pro forma.
  • If the answer is 'Yes', complete this section and then proceed.
Unauthorised discharges or failure to meet statutory environmental requirements

Authorisation may be given by Earth Resources Regulation, the Environment Protection Authority or through an Environment Effects Statement process to release, under certain circumstances, a certain type and level of material from a site (such as dust, odour, water, noise or leachates – see Section 6.3 above). Where an unauthorised release or discharge occurs, or a discharge exceeds the approved level, whether deliberately or accidentally, this must be reported.

Complaints received from the local community or other stakeholders regarding environmental issues

Complaints may be of a minor nature or, conversely, relate to situations that may become of major concern to the community. Licensees must report on the number and types of complaints that were received by the licensee or operator and any corrective action undertaken to deal with the complaints. Specific details of individual complaints are not required, but rather the general issue of concern (e.g. noise, dust). However, licensees are encouraged to maintain a log of all complaints and how they were addressed, no matter how minor, so that a record of these is available should the issue escalate or be ongoing.

Have there been any significant environmental management initiatives implemented at the site during the reporting period?

  • If the answer to this question is 'No', the report is complete.
  • If the answer is 'Yes', complete this section.
Environmental management initiatives developed and implemented at the site

Many mining companies have developed innovative ways to manage certain aspects of their operation or have adapted processes to accommodate variations between sites in the physical, technical and social environments. Some operators may also develop innovative management plans and/or systems to manage their environmental impacts and risks.

Reporting of these initiatives would highlight the industry's approach to improving standards and may lead to the adoption of appropriate technologies elsewhere.

Schedule 16

Part 3

Regulation 31

Information Required in Expenditure and Activities Return – Mining Licence

  1. Expenditure on wages and salaries
  2. Expenditure on equipment, plant or machinery.
  3. Expenditure on administration and consumables and other costs.
  4. Expenditure on rehabilitation (see description in clause 6).
  5. Expenditure on exploration (see Notes 1 and 3 below).
  6. Details of the mining work during the reporting period including -
    1. a detailed current plan of any underground mine;
    2. a description and quantities of ore and waste mined and treated (see Note 2 below);
    3. a description of any development or extensions to surface mine facilities and works such as treatment plant, tailings dams etc.; and
    4. a description of any shaft or underground development including depth or distance developed.
  7. Details of land disturbance and rehabilitation, including
    1. the total current area of land disturbed;
    2. the area disturbed during the last reporting period;
    3. the area rehabilitated* over the last reporting period;
    4. the percentage of area included in paragraph (c) that is revegetated with local native vegetation;
    5. the area of tailings dams; and
    6. an estimate of the current rehabilitation liability for the licence area.

* Rehabilitated means landforming complete and planting undertaken. Further land management may be required.

Details of the environmental management activities undertaken during the reporting period, including -

  1. the volume and composition of tailings produced;
  2. the volume and composition of other waste streams produced;
  3. the results of the environmental monitoring carried out in accordance with the work plan and conditions;
  4. details of any failure to meet site-specific environmental targets;
  5. details of any unauthorised discharges or failure to meet statutory requirements;
  6. details of complaints received and corrective actions undertaken; and
  7. details of any environmental management initiatives implemented.


  1. The technical results and geological interpretation of exploration works must be separately reported in accordance with Regulation 32.
  2. The production and sale of minerals must be reported for the purposes of royalty assessment and payment in accordance with Regulation 9.
  3. Expenditure on exploration must be reported under category headings 4 to 9 of Schedule 15 (wherever relevant)

Page last updated: 31 Mar 2020