Operating mines

Tenement holders are responsible for monitoring their own compliance and demonstrating compliance to their stakeholders through public reporting and engagement. DEM staff conduct compliance activities to provide assurance to the government, industry, community and other stakeholders that companies are being regularly monitored and are adhering to all relevant obligations. All major mines and other mining operations in South Australia are subject to regular scheduled and ad hoc site inspections.

The changes to the Mining Act in January 2021 introduced new requirements for all extractive and industrial mining operations in South Australia to submit an annual compliance report. These compliance reports, which are publicly available, provide a summary of the tenement holder's compliance with its obligations.

In 2021–22 DEM officers conducted 338 inspections and attended 13 community meetings.

Details on mining compliance can be found in the Mining compliance section of the DEM website:

Table 11: Summary of mineral tenements and operating mines - 30 June 2022

Note: These figures exclude opal mining tenements which are summarised separately.

Mineral lease 706
Extractive minerals lease 584
Miscellaneous purposes licence 115
Retention lease 27
Total mining leases1,432
Mineral claim 80
Private mine 217
Total mining operations 527
Total producing operations* 377
*Defined as those mines for which a royalty return has been submitted to DEM in the past 3 years.

Figure 12: Number of inspections FY2017–18 to FY2021–22

Since 2019 the number of inspections has been impacted by COVID-19 related travel restrictions and associated resourcing constraints.

Inspections by tenement type

2021-22 inspections by purpose

Note: Compliance inspections include routine inspections as well as site meetings, responding to complaints and incidents, and ad hoc inspections. Tenement inspections include renewals, surrender and transfer inspections. Assessment inspections include new mineral applications and mining programs.

Figure 15: DEM mining and exploration inspections by region FY2021–22

DEM mining and exploration inspections by region

Table 12: Status of ongoing community consultative committees - 30 June 2022

Mining operation Community committee Meeting frequency
Angus Mine Strathalbyn Community Consultative Committee Quarterly
Golden Grove Extractives Industry Zone Golden Grove Community Group Quarterly
Kanmantoo Mine Kanmantoo-Callington Community Consultative Committee Quarterly
Linwood Quarry Linwood Residents Joint Working Group As required
Penrice Mine (Angaston Quarry) Penrice Community Consultative Committee 6 monthly

Table 13: Compliance-related activities for mining operations FY2021–22

Activity Number of activities carried out
Site inspections (mining only) 320
Reported incidents 25
Reportable uranium/radiation incidents 3
Registered complaints 59
Formal letter issued 67
Formal direction/order issued 3
Unauthorised mining investigations 13
Compliance report received 108
Community meetings attended 13
Program notifications assessed 29

Mining complaints

The most common mining complaints received in 2021–22 are:

  • Dust – 14
  • Blasting – 9
  • Water quality – 9

Blasting and dust complaints are typically received from mining operations located adjacent to residential areas. These operations are expected to continuously focus on minimising external impacts, with many adopting real-time technologies to monitor blasting and dust events, trigger and response plans and transparent reporting systems.

Many of these operations also have well-established community engagement programs to ensure local communities are informed of developments and regulatory performance.

Figure 16: Mining complaints registered with DEM FY2021–22

59 complaints were registered from July 2021 to June 2022

Categories of mining complaints

Mining incidents

The most common incident types recorded in 2021–22 were:

  • Spills – 11
  • Dust – 6
  • Water quality – 3

All reportable incidents under the Mining Act must be reported to DEM. 24 incidents were reported on mining tenements. Four of these were uranium or radiation-related incidents.

More information about the types of incidents that must be reported, and how and when can be found ono the Incident reporting page of the DEM website:

Categories of mining incidents

Mining operations enforcement actions

Table 14: Enforcement actions issued, outstanding or closed for mining operations FY2021–22

Note: Includes outstanding directions issued prior to 30 June 2021 that were completed or remained outstanding at 30 June 2022.

Compliance instrument Date issued Tenement holder/operatorNoncomplianceOutcome
Environmental direction 27/03/2013 One Steel Manufacturing Pty Limited (currently trading as SIMEC Mining) Tailings storage facility impacted on native vegetation at Iron Duke mine Closed
Environmental direction 14/11/2017 Mark Hardy Contamination to land resulting from hydrocarbon spills Closed
Compliance direction 14/11/2017 Mark Hardy Unauthorised native vegetation clearance, operating outside of the tenement boundary and operating outside of the scope of the PEPR Ongoing rectification
Compliance direction 30/01/2019 Gawler Craton Resources Pty Ltd Unauthorised mining (re-issued) Ongoing rectification
Environmental direction 01/12/2020 John Hillam Unauthorised mining/ illegal clearance/ environmental harm Ongoing rectification
Environmental direction 24/12/2020 Buckland Dry Creek Pty Ltd Remove brine and stop new brine entering Section 2 ponds, Dry Creek Salt Field Ongoing
Compliance direction 28/07/2020 Goldus Pty Ltd Unauthorised mining Ongoing rectification
Environmental direction 5/11/2021 Holcim Pty Ltd Excessive drag out Closed
Compliance direction 30/03/2022 Southern Contracting Group Pty Ltd Dust exceedances and non-reporting of exceedances Ongoing rectification
Compliance order 20/05/2022 Hanson Construction Materials Stormwater and silt / environmental harm Ongoing rectification