Rehabilitation liability and bonds

While the South Australian mining industry is an important economic contributor, mining activities impact the land and create a rehabilitation liability. Under the Mining Act, the holder of a mining tenement is responsible for rehabilitating the land disturbed by mining operations. DEM is responsible for ensuring financial liabilities from non-rehabilitated mining activities do not become the state’s responsibility.

The amount to be provided by the tenement holder is determined by DEM as the value of 100% of the estimated rehabilitation liability. The rehabilitation liability estimate is the maximum third-party cost of undertaking the rehabilitation strategies covered by the approved PEPR and include costs for project management, inflation, normal project variation, and contingency provision for risk associated with the strategies and uncertainty in the cost estimates.

Table 17: Summary of bond type and amount held by DEM for mineral tenements - 30 June 2022

Bond type Exploration ($m) Mining ($m)
Bank guarantee 1.3 252.78
Currency 2 24.74
Other – deed poll 0 9.18
Total 3.3 286.7

Figure 23: Total bonds ($million) held as at 30 June 2017 to 30 June 2022

Extractive areas rehabilitation fund (EARF)

The EARF was established in 1971 to fund the rehabilitation of extractive mining operations and has supported more than 1,000 projects since its inception. The EARF is funded by the government’s reallocation of royalty monies.

In the event an operator faces financial disruption through insolvency, administration, liquidation or bankruptcy, the EARF provides a royalty-financed scheme that protects the state. The EARF protects against operators who cannot meet their rehabilitation obligations due to voluntary administration or liquidation.

The EARF’s benefit to industry is that extractive operations generally do not require a rehabilitation bond.

EARF provides funding to support regulatory officers who work on extractive minerals leases and extractive operations. The EARF is regularly reviewed by government to ensure adequate reserves are held to assure potential rehabilitation liabilities may be funded if required by government.

The closing balance of the EARF at 30 June 2022 was $33,849,363.

More information about the EARF can be found on the Extractive Areas Rehabilitation Fund web page

Table 18: Projects approved for funding from EARF FY2021–22

Maslin Beach Sand Quarry - EMLs 2569 and 2570 DEM 20/06/2022 75,000

Table 19: Status of EARF-funded projects - 30 June 2022

Active projects

Original approval

Original value ($)

Project completed

Residual value 30 June 2022 ($)

PM 140 14/06/2016 339,081.00 not yet completed 339,081.00
MPL 56 27/10/2019 63,250.00 not yet completed 40,450.00
PM 285 24/07/2019 11,550.00 21/7/2021 0.00
PM 253 16/12/2020 22,231.00 not yet completed 22,231.00
EML 5261 20/03/2021 30,541.00 26/02/2022 0.00