The Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority’s One Year Anniversary
On 30 June 2020 the Mine Land Rehabilitation Authority superseded the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner as the overseer of Victoria’s declared mine rehabilitation. Victoria’s declared mines are the Latrobe Valley’s three brown coal mines: Hazelwood, Yallourn and Loy Yang.
In consultation with our key stakeholders, who include community, industry, and government, we oversee declared mine land rehabilitation to ensure a transition to safe, stable, and sustainable post-mining landforms in Victoria. We do so in a transparent, responsible, and objective manner, promoting technical excellence and openness in stakeholder interaction and education of communities in the rehabilitation of mines.
The creation of a well-defined pathway for mining licence relinquishment and long-term management of mine land degradation risks is a major reason for the existence of the Authority.
Our vision is to ensure rehabilitation standards are maintained to provide long term confidence in and value of mine rehabilitation and closure outcomes for Victorian communities and government, building the organisation towards potential future mine land custodianship. In the future the we will register, monitor, and potentially own declared mine land post-closure.
Our aim is to facilitate public consultation and involvement in declared mine rehabilitation through our engagement and educational activities. We are keen to ensure that as far as possible everyone can access knowledge regarding rehabilitation progress by providing easily understood and accessible information.
We encourage community members to engage in a public conversation, provide their views, and contribute suggestions on the risks, implications, and planning of various mine rehabilitation options.
One year on ….
Looking back over the past twelve months, the Authority has provided continuity of rehabilitation planning oversight, including providing technical advice in the following areas:
- Ongoing input into ENGIE Hazelwood’s rehabilitation plans and approvals processes.
- Assessing the development and delivery of the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy’s (LVRRS) implementation actions, which include assessing alternative non-water rehabilitation options and alternative sources of water for mine rehabilitation.
- A statutory review of AGL Loy Yang’s 2020 Work Plan submissions required by Earth Resources Regulation.
- Guidance to research groups, including involvement with the newly formed Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME).
We maintained community and stakeholder engagement, during the past year by moving our face-to-face public forums to online formats in line with COVID 19 restrictions
In the latter part of this first year the Authority focused on recruitment of staff to support its functions, which include ensuring residual risks of declared mine land can be appropriately managed once the licensees have relinquished their mining licences.
The Authority commenced operations, with the appointments of Rae Mackay, the former Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner, as MLRA Board Chair and five Board members responsible for the governance of the Authority. The Board members visited the Hazelwood mine site, where mining ceased in 2017 to familiarise themselves with the type and scale of operations and the progress of rehabilitation and to meet the key site personnel.
We completed the review of the AGL Loy Yang Rehabilitation and Closure Plan submitted to Earth Resources Regulation as part of the licensee’s newest Work Plan submission.
Our first virtual engagement presentation to updatw the Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group on the latest findings for declared mine rehabilitation.
Publishing the first edition of the Mine Land Post our quarterly newsletter. The Spring 2020 edition gave an overview of “who does what in mine rehabilitation” and the next steps for the LVRRS. Copies are available from our website at https://www.mineland.vic.gov.au/publication/newsletter-spring2020/
Along with the declared mine licensees, the Authority attended the Guidance on use of climate change scenarios for water resource planning for mine rehabilitation workshop for Implementation Action 1 of the LVRRS. The Guidance has since been published and is available from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) at www.water.vic.gov.au/climate-change/adaptation/guidelines.
Tabling the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner 2019 – 20 Annual Report in both Houses of Parliament. This is the third and final report of the work of the Commissioner and his team.
The second edition of the Mine Land Post Summer 2020 showcased important ongoing research into mine rehabilitation, and the many organisations and partnerships focused on delivering new knowledge needed to develop safe, stable, and sustainable landforms benefiting the Latrobe Valley community into the future. Copies are available from our website at https://www.mineland.vic.gov.au/publication/newsletter-summer-2020/
We welcomed our new CEO David Salmon. David’s 25 years in senior management roles combined with his skills and knowledge in mine pit void water management and coal mine closure are invaluable assets in tackling the issues and challenges of mine rehabilitation and achieving the goals of the MLRA.
Our Board continued to familiarise itself with the major issues involved in brown coal mine rehabilitation with a tour of Yallourn mine. Yallourn mine is scheduled to close in 2028.
We hosted two virtual webinars on the LVRRS Implementation Actions with guest speakers from DELWP and DJPR discussing Climate Change Guidance (Action 1), Water Sharing in the Latrobe Valley (Action 3), Feasibility of Alternative Water for Mine Rehabilitation (Action 4) and Identification of non-water and contingency rehabilitation options to manage land stability and fire risks if sufficient water is not available (Action 5). The webinar videos, transcripts and Q&A responses can be found on the MLRA website at www.mineland.vic.gov.au/webinar/lvrrs-implementation/
Our Board completed its site visits of the Latrobe Valley’s mines, with a tour of Loy Yang, where mining is currently scheduled to cease in 2048.
The Autumn 2021 edition of the Mine Land Post connecting with the World Water Day theme of raising awareness about the importance of water and the global water crisis. This edition focused on water quality in mine rehabilitation, and also featured Yallourn North Extension Open Cut, a local mine rehabilitation success story. Copies are available from our website at https://www.mineland.vic.gov.au/publication/newsletter-autumn-2021/
Rae Mackay, Board Chair and Rhonda Hastie, Technical Advisor attended the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) Life of Mine Conference. They presented individual papers entitled: Overseeing Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation, and Coal Hole: community engagement using experimental art.
The Winter 2021 edition of the Mine Land Post featured innovative approaches to mine rehabilitation such as enhancing aquatic ecosystems in pit lakes, conserving heritage and generating post-mining economies, digital innovation, and completion criteria for mine closure planning. Copies are available from our website at www.mineland.vic.gov.au/news/publications/
Meet with us!
The MLRA team are keen to meet with the community and community groups in person (or online if preferred), wishing to learn more about or discuss the current status of mine rehabilitation in the Latrobe Valley. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 1800 571 966.