Authors: Hamblin, L; Gardner, A

Open access courtesy of:


Cite As:
Hamblin, L & Gardner, A 2022, 'Planning for mine closure: comparative mapping of the regulatory frameworks for mine closure planning in Western Australia, Queensland, and Victoria', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & G Boggs (eds), Mine Closure 2022: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 225-236,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

Mapping the regulatory frameworks for mine closure planning around Australia requires the consideration of several overlapping and enmeshed legal concepts, institutions, powers and processes. It can encompass environmental, economic, social, cultural and climate transitions for the mine site and the surrounding region. Mining can create complex and, in some cases, irreversible impacts, which must be considered pre-emptively to optimise mitigation of any potential damage. Legal and regulatory systems are required to play catch-up with science and culture at the best of times. Mine closure planning is further complicated when anticipating decades worth of mining impacts and conducting mine closure planning with interactions between industry, government and community within an evolving regulatory framework. Improving efficiency of regulatory evolution requires us to take a comparative approach to the evaluation of existing regulatory mechanisms. Western Australia, Queensland, and Victoria all have prominent mining industries, which have been adapting in recent years to the reformed requirements of mine closure planning. Whilst mines in active closure might present more immediate political challenges, they also serve as a reminder of the importance of continuously improving the mine closure planning process. This article undertakes a comparative analysis of those three states’ mine closure planning processes to achieve an approved mine closure plan prior to the commencement of mining operations. We take a close look at laws and guidelines regulating minerals resources tenure, and environmental and water access approvals. The article also considers the extent to which each state provides an opportunity for community engagement and comment prior to the grant of mining and environmental approvals. We draw attention to key distinctions between the regulatory approaches taken and suggest pertinent areas for future research and regulatory reform.

Keywords: mine closure, rehabilitation, repurposing, mining, mine planning

Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc (No 2) [2016] QLC 22.
Consolidated Tin Mines Ltd v Dunn [2017] QLC 18.
Deimel v Phelps [2020] QLC 2
FMG Pilbara P/L v Yindjibanrdi Aboriginal Corporation [2011] WAMW 13.
Forrest & Forrest Pty Ltd v Wilson [2017] HCA 30.
Hamblin, L, Gardner, A & Haigh, Y 2022, Mapping the Regulatory Framework of Mine Closure, CRC TiME, Perth.
Hancock Coal Pty Ltd v Kelly & Ors [2013] QLC 9.
Government of Queensland 1971, State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971, Australia.
Government of Queensland 1989, Mineral Resources Act 1989, Australia.
Government of Queensland 1994, Environmental Protection Act 1994, Australia.
Government of Queensland 2017, Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017, Australia.
Government of Queensland 2018, Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018, Australia.
Government of Queensland 2019a, Environmental Protection Regulations 2019, Australia.
Government of Queensland 2019b, Human Rights Act 2019, Australia.
Government of Queensland 2020, Assessments and Approvals,
Government of Victoria 1978, Environment Effects Act 1978, Australia.
Government of Victoria 1990, Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990, Australia.
Government of Victoria 2006, Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, Australia.
Government of Victoria 2017a, Environmental Protection Act 2017, Australia.
Government of Victoria 2017b, Heritage Act 2017, Australia.
Government of Victoria 2019, Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) (Mineral Industries) Regulations 2019, Australia.
Government of Victoria 2021, Environment Protection Regulations 2021, Australia.
Government of Western Australia 1978, Mining Act 1978, Australia.
Government of Western Australia 1986, Environmental Protection Act 1986, Australia.
Government of Western Australia 2020a, State Agreements,
Government of Western Australia 2020b, List of State Agreements in Western Australia,
Government of Western Australia 2021, Mining Amendment Bill 2021, Australia.
New Acland Coal Pty Ltd v Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inc [2021] QLC 29.
Queensland Department of Environment and Science 2021, Guideline: Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plans, version 2, 17 March 2021.
Reinmuth, J, McAleer, M, Lynch, E, Iredell, T & Woods, G 2020, A decade of State Agreements in Western Australia: trends and predictions, blog post,
Waratah Coal Pty Ltd v Youth Verdict Ltd & Others [2020] QLC 33.

© Copyright 2024, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to