Mine subsidence is deformation and/or displacement of the ground and any surface or sub-surface features caused by underground coal mining operations.

Regulation of mine subsidence

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that the mining industry meets strict contemporary standards. The management of subsidence related to underground coal mining operations is a key focus of the Government's regulatory oversight:

  • Coal mining operations require development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The environmental impacts of subsidence from these operations are assessed and approved under the Part 4 State Significant Development process. The views of the community and other government agencies are taken into account during the assessment process.
  • Modern development consents are subject to conditions requiring submission and approval of an Extraction Plan which describes how subsidence impacts will be managed to meet the requirements of the development consent.
  • The Extraction Plan is assessed by relevant agencies who provide advice to the Department of Planning & Environment as to the adequacy of the plan.
  • Approved Extraction Plans must then be implemented by the proponent as a requirement of both the Development Consent and Mining Lease.

One plan, joint regulators

From 1 July 2014, the Division of Resources & Energy's former Subsidence Management Plan process was replaced by a consolidated Extraction Plan process. This provides for the joint regulation of mine subsidence under a single Extraction Plan.

  • The Department of Planning & Environment (DPE) is responsible for compliance and enforcement of the Extraction Plan so far as it relates to the Development Consent.
  • NSW Department of Industry, Resources & Energy is responsible for compliance and enforcement of the Extraction Plan so far as it relates to requirements under the Mining Act 1992 and relevant safety legislation. This role principally relates to workplace safety, public safety, rehabilitation and resource recovery requirements.

Rather than approving future Extraction Plans, Resources & Energy advises DPE in their approval process. Resources & Energy will also be able to direct or take other compliance actions to require lease holders to amend deficient plans. Any compliance actions undertaken by Resources & Energy will be in the context of mining and safety legislative requirements only.

See Frequently Asked Questions or read the new Extraction Plan condition.

Guidelines and reference material

Notes:

a) New Mining Lease Extraction Plan condition

The new Mining Lease Extraction Plan condition replaced the former Subsidence Management Plan condition on coal mining leases from 1 July 2014.

b) Applications for Subsidence Management Approvals

The EDG17 guideline is no longer relevant to future applications for Extraction Plan approvals under the amended mining lease condition.  It is available for preparation of Subsidence Management Plans, a requirement of some development consents and for ongoing compliance of existing Subsidence Management Plan approvals for the term of that approval.

c) Guidelines for the Preparation of Extraction Plans

The existing Resources & Energy EDG17 guidelines (which relate to Subsidence Management Plans) and draft DPE Extraction Plan guidelines (unpublished) are intended to be replaced with a single revised Extraction Plan guideline covering the regulatory requirements of both DPE and Resources & Energy. These guidelines will provide further clarity as to the approval process and regulatory responsibilities of each agency. Pending publication of the revised guideline, please contact the Subsidence Executive Officer for assistance (details below).

Notices of Determination

For access to individual Subsidence Management Plans or Extraction Plans, please contact the Project Coordinator (details below).

Mining Act 1992 and Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 activity approvals can now be accessed via the DIGS Database. This database provides access to a range of information relating to exploration and mining activities, including Subsidence Management Plan approvals. Information on how to use DIGS.

To find information relating to Subsidence Management Plans type "SMP" in the Report Number field. The Tenement Name/Number field requires 4 digits to search e.g. ML123 should be entered as ML0123.

For further information
For inquiries on Extraction Plans or Subsidence Management Plans
Phone:
+61 (0)2 9842 8582 (Alex Love - Project Coordinator – Royalties and Advisory Services)
industry.coordination@industry.nsw.gov.au