Opal Mine Industry update.
Opal mine under current transitional arrangements, designated ancillary mining activities (AMAs) that were commenced or constructed before 15 November 2010 are exempt from needing to have an authorisation under the Mining Act 1992 (the Mining Act) until.
Opal mine as you may be aware, in September 2017 the Division of Resources and Geoscience, Department of Planning and Environment (the Division) sought nominations from industry of communal mullock stockpiles (communal stockpiles) that may be suitable to be included in an extension to the transitional arrangements. Feedback was also sought from targeted landholder and community stakeholders. The Division received 281 submissions and 120 telephone enquiries.
Extension of transitional arrangements for communal stockpiles.
Opal Mine Lightning Ridge opal mine Australia.
The use of communal stockpiles is important to reduce the environmental footprint of opal mining and the risk of random and/or illegal mullock stockpiling. At the same time, communal stockpiles represent a rehabilitation liability and need to be managed to be safe and stable.
The current transitional arrangements regarding the use of 46 nominated communal stockpiles in the Lightning Ridge and White Cliffs mineral claims districts have been extended until15 November 2019. The extension applies to communal stockpiles that existed before 15 November 2010 and have been continuously used since that time.
This will allow a long-term governance approach for communal stockpiles to be developed in consultation with industry, landholders and the community. Management of communal stockpiles including rehabilitation will be considered as part of this process.
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Opal miners who are not authorised to stockpile mullock can continue to use the stockpiles covered by the extension without an authorisation until 15 November 2019. After this time all mullock stockpiles will need to be covered by an appropriate authorisation under the Mining Act.
The extension of the transitional arrangements does not change opal miners’ responsibilities to comply with other requirements under the Mining Act or other legislation. In particular, opal miners will still need to have a landholder’s permission to access a communal stockpile on their land.
Importantly, the extension of the transitional arrangements only applies to the use of communal stockpiles that are listed. Before using a communal stockpile, opal miners are strongly advised to check whether it is exempt from needing to have an authorisation, or risk being in breach of the Mining Act.
A list of the communal stockpiles the extension applies to, maps showing the location of these communal stockpiles and a set of frequently asked questions can be found on our website.
I look forward to your ongoing support to ensure the use and management of communal stockpiles achieves positive outcomes for industry, landholders and the environment.
Division of Resources and Geoscience
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