Social Impact Assessments (SIA) for Resource Projects in NSW

Please find below some thoughts on the new Social Impact Assessment (SIA) guidelines for mining companies (http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/socialimpactassessment).

Definition of Social Impact: ‘Consequences experienced by people due to changes associated with a state significant resource project’ (Department of Planning & Environment: Social Impact Assessment Guideline). The Department’s definition of social impact (SIA guideline, part 1.1) is broad and includes impacts on physical and mental health, material prosperity and the aesthetics of our surrounds. Another way to think about social impact is as the human experience of environmental and economic impacts. A definition of the activities covered under ‘resource projects’ is also given (footnotes, p. 2), and includes: mining (minerals, including coal), petroleum production (oil and coal seam gas), and other extractive industry (basic geological resources such as sand, gravel, clay, rock). In all instances, the phases of extraction, processing, and ‘rehabilitation’ of the land are included in the definition of a ‘resource project’. Continue reading “Social Impact Assessments (SIA) for Resource Projects in NSW”

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Business as Usual: Modification 3 Approved by Planning Assessment Commission

Modification 3 has just been approved by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC): http://www.pac.nsw.gov.au/projects/2016/06/dargues-reef-gold-mine-modification-3. This determination goes against almost unanimous objection from the 23 speakers at the meeting in Braidwood, as well as some 380 written objections (including the two exhibitions of the modification; with and without cyanide processing). As compared to 65 public submissions in support for the first exhibition, and zero in support for the second. 13 community (‘special interest’) groups and 2 shire councils (Palerang and Eurobodalla) also objected, versus 1 group in support. But the determination comes as no surprise. The PAC systematically ignores the public will and complies with recommendations from the Department of Planning, as revealed by David Shoebridge in this article. The original Dargues approval (September 2011), in which the PAC sat and ‘listened’ to seven hours of public objection before leaving town and signing their names to the mine, is another case in point.

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