7th March 2018

The NSW Resources Regulator has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Boral Ltd following an investigation into allegations the company unlawfully cleared vegetation at its Loch Catherine Colliery.

A detailed investigation into the matter by the Regulator found Boral had cleared vegetation along a historic access track at the entrance of an underground mine, which was in breach of its conditions of authorisation.

In response to the Regulator’s findings Boral submitted a proposal for an enforceable undertaking, which is a legally binding agreement under the Mining Act 1992. An enforceable undertaking can be proposed by a company following an alleged contravention, which may be considered as an alternative to prosecution.

In determining to accept the undertaking the Regulator noted that Boral incorrectly believed they had approval to clear the vegetation. The clearing, while extensive, was limited to the access track and did not involve removal of any mature vegetation.

The Regulator accepted that Boral’s activities were not malicious or deliberate, but were nonetheless non-compliant and reasonably avoidable.

The enforceable undertaking includes a $50,000 donation to Greening Australia’s ‘Wall 2 Wollondilly’ environmental rehabilitation project, which aims to restore critical habitat, improve water quality and return the Wingecarribee River to a healthy state.

Boral has also committed to a range of actions with a financial commitment of at least $130,000, including the donation to Greening Australia, which will fund:

  • an independent audit of its NSW operations to ensure compliance against the conditions of any authorisations under the Mining Act
  • training of all key management of its NSW operations in respect of the operation and compliance with conditions of mining leases
  • develop material for new staff who have management responsibility in respect of operations that have an authorisation under the Mining Act

"There is a strong expectation that large companies such as Boral are aware of their obligations under the Mining Act and have systems in place to ensure compliance," Resources Regulator Chief Compliance Officer Anthony Keon said.

"We believe Boral’s commitment to undertake training, auditing and other financial commitments is considered significant given the specific facts of this matter, and is likely to achieve better compliance outcomes than pursuing other enforcement options such as prosecution."

Copies of the Enforceable Undertaking and decision are published on the website: www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/regulation/compliance-and-enforcement.