This week the Queensland Environment Minister, Dr Steven Miles, tabled the Environmental Protection (Underground Water Management) and Other Legislation Bill 2016, stating that this ‘will mean a rigorous scientific assessment of the impact of mining projects on groundwater would be required before an environmental approval is issued for new mining projects’.
In frc environmental’s recent experience, EHP may require a comprehensive stygofauna survey, as per the Guideline for the Environmental Assessment of Subterranean Aquatic Fauna, before it is considered that the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for a mining project complies with Section 203 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994. In at least one recent case that we are aware of, failure to complete a comprehensive stygofauna survey within the EIS process resulted in a 12 month delay to the sign-off on the project EMP until a comprehensive stygofauna survey was completed to EHPs satisfaction.
Should the Environmental Protection (Underground Water Management) and Other Legislation Bill 2016 be passed, it is very likely that comprehensive stygofauna assessments will form a required component of the rigorous scientific assessment of impacts of a project on groundwater.
Please contact frc environmental if you would like further information.