Quarry and mine operators in Victoria, Australia are benefitting from streamlined regulatory processes that have been put in place to manage low-risk operational changes.
Approvals and key decisions are on the rise, due to streamlined processes and better guidance for operators. This is enabling a booming earth resources to increase the processing of sand, stone and minerals, which are in high demand to build public infrastructure and affordable housing.
Earth Resources Regulation recently launched its Statements of Operating Change for the minerals and quarry industries to ensure it enables the growth of the sector.
Operators now have the option to notify Earth Resources Regulation of basic operational changes without submitting a formal work plan variation for low-risk activities.
Up to 50 per cent of all operational plan approvals will now be fast-tracked through this process, saving operators the time and paperwork involved in preparing a work plan variation, while continuing to fulfil their regulatory obligations.
The regulator has now received 16 requests via the fast-tracked process.
Victoria’s largest gold mine at Fosterville is benefitting from a simplified process to adjust their operations to aid the production of gold, estimated to grow this year to twice the amount produced in 2016.
The improvements that have been implemented by Earth Resources Regulation are a result of a review that was undertaken in 2017 by the Commissioner for Better Regulation, Anna Cronin.
Earth Resources Regulation is now making over 97 per cent of decisions within statutory timeframes.
Earth Resources Regulation’s Executive Director Anthony Hurst states that the regulator is working with both the extractive and minerals industries to support them in their work, which enables more building in the state and creates more jobs.
“Earth Resources Regulation is focussed on ensuring all the necessary safeguards and protections are in place to manage these sites in line with community expectations, our emphasis is on managing risk effectively and working with operators to ensure suitable processes are in place,” he said.
“We’ve had great feedback from quarry and mine operators but we are always keen to continue conversations about further improving approvals and management processes.”