NSW regulator targets surprise inspections across state

Image: NSW Resources Regulator

The New South Wales Resources Regulator has completed 112 unannounced inspections at coal, metalliferous and quarrying operations across the state.

A small number of sites failed to comply with their statutory obligations, but overall standards were high, according to Resources Regulator executive director Anthony Keon.

Of the 112 mine and petroleum sites inspected, only eight were identified as being “potentially non-compliant” with mining laws, Keon added.

“This is a significant improvement on the outcomes of the 2018 compliance blitz, which saw 26 prohibition notices being issued and eight potential breaches under the Mining Act,” he said.

Around 85 safety and compliance inspectors gave six sites urgent prohibition notices to cease unsafe work practices, while issuing a total of 54 additional notices to improve site communications and systems.

Keon said the regulator took a zero-tolerance approach to operators that failed to meet their statutory obligations.

“While this exercise shows standards are broadly positive across the NSW mining industry, recent fatalities in other jurisdictions are a stark reminder that operators must remain vigilant,” he added.

The inspections took place within a week last month, with particular attention to worker supervision, safety duties, unsafe plant and equipment, mine rehabilitation, tailings dam management and conditions of mining authorisations.