The improved approach to work plan assessments is making a real difference to industry, with Victoria’s earth resources regulator doubling the number of approvals for mine and quarry work plans during the 2018-19 financial year, compared to the average between 2013 and 2018.
This includes a total of 31 quarry work plan changes granted in 2018-19, compared to the average of 15 per year in the previous five financial years.
Mining projects have seen a similar improvement, with Earth Resources Regulation approving 30 work plan changes in 2018-19 compared to 17 per year between 2013 and 2018.
This fantastic result comes in part from the new notifications pathway that enables operators to simply notify the regulator about low-risk changes to their operations. This new method allows industry to get on with development and production activities sooner.
In 2018-19, 16 quarry work plan changes were approved via the notifications pathway, while ten mineral work plan changes were accepted as notifications.
Initial analysis and feedback from industry has indicated that the notifications pathway is significantly quicker and cheaper than the standard work plan variation process – notifications can be processed in less than three months compared to a standard work plan variation, which can take between six months and two years.
Cost savings for operators using notifications are similar, with a notification costing from $1,000 to $75,000 compared to a standard variation which can cost up to $500,000.
Earth Resources Regulation has also greatly improved the time that it takes to process a work plan or work plan variation, with 100 per cent of quarry work plans and 99 per cent of mineral work plans processed within the legislated timeframes in 2018-19.
51 mineral licences were granted in the last financial year, with 47 of these within the required timeframes.