New Century Resources Reduction in estimated rehabilitation costs
McCullough Robertson’s expert Resources & Renewables team has successfully delivered a reduction of $14.1m in estimated rehabilitation costs (ERC) for New Century Resources (NCZ).
This agreement, validated by the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science (Department) and the Land Court of Queensland, is one of the first of its kind for an operating mine in Queensland, since the commencement of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018 (Qld) (MERFP Act) for a company still undertaking mining operations.
Partner, Peter Stokes, and Senior Associate, Claire Meiklejohn, advised NCZ over the course of this matter, including on NCZ’s initial application, its appeal against the decision, and subsequent resolution.
This was a complex process, involving extensive engagement with independent experts with regard to NCZ’s cover designs proposed for its waste rock dumps and tailings storage facility, and the suitability of those designs for the Century Mine. NCZ’s cover designs were vindicated by the agreement.
New Century Resources’ Managing Director, Patrick Walta commented:
“The Department’s agreement to this ERC reduction is a significant achievement for the Company and a demonstration that our strategy of undertaking progressive mine rehabilitation during operations can deliver materially beneficial economic outcomes.
The ERC reduction will have the effect of lowering Century’s overall environmental liability. The Company is already planning its next submission and looks forward to making further reductions over the coming years as our economic rehabilitation activities progress.”
Peter Stokes commented:
“We are delighted to have assisted NCZ to secure this significant reduction on behalf of its shareholders. The result is precedent setting, and has the potential to impact many mining operations in Queensland, having regard to site-specific methodologies for estimating the rehabilitation costs for new and existing resource projects.”
The President of the Land Court, in approving the reduction in the ERC, stated that “I prefer the unanimous expert assessment of the best method, on this mine … over a default assumption about capping design embedded in a calculator adopted by the Chief Executive [of the Department].”
The reduction will be put into effect by the scheme manager under the MERFP Act.
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