Mining & Coal Seam Gas

There are opportunities to have your say about mining and coal seam gas (CSG) activities whether it is on your land, in your local community, or somewhere else in the State 

View current opportunities to have your say about mining and coal seam gas now

NSW Titles maps the boundaries of current coal and CSG titles, and Title Status Reports, which are updated monthly, show the current coal, mineral and CSG titles and applications.

There are also provisions allowing landholders to have a say on how mining and CSG activities can be carried out. For a comprehensive guide to the laws regulating mining and coal seam gas (CSG) in NSW, read Mining Law in New South Wales: A guide for the community or our Fact Sheets on mining and CSG

Responding to government proposals

The national, State and local governments regularly invite input from the community on proposed changes to environmental laws. 

  • To comment on documents detailing how mining and CSG projects will impact the environment, visit the NSW Department of Industry (Resources and Energy) website. The types documents exhibited include species impact statements for mining projects, Review of Environmental Factors reports, and applications for rehabilitation projects. To read more about the types of environmental assessment required to be undertaken for mining and CSG projects, see our Fact Sheets on mining and CSG.

Notifications about opportunities to comment on proposals are often required to be published. The NSW Government is required to publish notices for some proposals in a locally circulating newspaper, and sometimes a newspaper that circulates throughout NSW (often The Land). You can keep an eye on the papers to make sure that you don’t miss an opportunity to comment. 

Responding to applications

Comments from the community are also invited on things like development applications and environment protection licences, which are often required for mining and CSG projects.

  • To comment on current coal and petroleum exploration licence applications, visit the NSW Department of Industry's Resources and Energy website. While there is no legal right for the public to comment on whether an exploration licence is granted, it is NSW Government policy to allow the public to comment on exploration licence applications for coal and CSG.
  • To comment on applications for environment protection licences, visit the EPA website. Most mining and CSG projects will require an environment protection licence. The EPA must consider public submissions in assessing a licence application. This includes any public submissions made under the development assessment process. For more information about environment protection licences, see our Fact Sheet on air, water and noise pollution.
  • To comment on applications to vary environment protection licences, visit the EPA website. You can also comment on existing licences at any time. Licences are required to be reviewed by the EPA or other responsible authority at least every five years. You can write to the EPA and request a statement of reasons explaining why an environment protection licence application was granted. This includes applications for transfers or variations. Remember that for mining and CSG major project developments licences must be granted consistently with a development approval. For more information about environment protection licences, see our Fact Sheet on air, water and noise pollution.

Notifications about opportunities to comment on proposals are often required to be published. The NSW Government is required to publish notices for some proposals in a locally circulating newspaper, and sometimes a newspaper that circulates throughout NSW (often The Land). You can keep an eye on the papers to make sure that you don’t miss an opportunity to comment. For more information about notification for mining and CSG activities, see our Fact Sheets on mining and CSG. For more information about notification of major project developments, see our Fact Sheet on State significant development and infrastructure.

Monitoring and enforcement

Both governments and mining companies have responsibility for monitoring the impacts of mining and CSG activities on the environment. You can also monitor the impacts of activities on the environment, such as water and air quality.

Before reporting suspected breaches of environmental laws you will require evidence. It is also important to remember that the law contains certain exceptions and defences to offences. The most common defence is that a person has a permit or licence to take the action which would otherwise be an offence, such as an environment protection licence (a licence to pollute). If you are unsure about whether an action is an offence or not, call the Environment Line on 131 555.

National and State enforcement authorities can issue stop work notices in many cases where unauthorised activities are occurring that threaten harm to the environment.

    • Carrying out mining or CSG activities without authorisation from the Division of Resources and Energy, or breaching a condition of an exploration or mining title. A title to explore or mine minerals or CSG must be held before any activities can be carried out, and conditions can be imposed on these titles. You can access NSW Titles, the titles mapping system for minerals and CSG in NSW, to see all titles in NSW.
    • Carrying out mining CSG activities on an exempted area (e.g. a recreation reserve, park, or permanent common) without consent from the Minister for Resources and Energy.
    • Causing pollution without the required licence, or polluting over the authorised level. Click here for more information about pollution.
    • Taking an action that is likely to have a significant impact on a nationally listed migratory species.
    • Taking an action that is likely to have a significant impact on a place that is listed on the World, Commonwealth, or National heritage lists.

Under certain environmental laws, any person has the right to bring proceedings in a Court to remedy or restrain a breach. In NSW, this is mainly to the Land and Environment Court. For breaches of national environmental law, it is the Federal Court. See How can I have my say? for more information. You should contact the EDO NSW Environmental Law Line to request some initial legal advice if you would like to take this step.

Shaping environmental laws

Many environmental laws merely set out the framework for protecting the environment and rely on community involvement for proper protection. You can proactively seek to improve environmental laws through these processes.

  • Join the NSW Boards and Committees register, which is a list of people interested in serving on NSW Government boards and committees, such as reserve trusts for the protection of certain areas of environmental and heritage significance.
  • Contact your local council to speak to them about joining a committee. Many councils have community advisory and consultative committees which may act as a liaison between the council and the community, or advise the council on matters such as the environment, heritage, and building and development.

General

The national, State and local governments provide continuing opportunities to be involved in the laws designed to protect the environment.