Financial assurance security deposit for an environmental authority
Financial assurance may be required for resource activities and prescribed ERAs. If you are required to supply a financial assurance, this requirement will be included as a condition of your EA. For certain mining projects carried out under an ERA standard, specifically those occurring on a mining claim, exploration permit or mineral development licence, the amount of financial assurance required is prescribed in the relevant ERA standard.
For small scale mining activities that do not require an EA, the amount of financial assurance required is prescribed in the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.
You must pay financial assurance before carrying out any activities authorised by your EA.
In addition to requiring financial assurance for an EA, the administering authority may also request a financial assurance payment as a condition of a transitional environmental program.
Calculating financial assurance
Financial assurance is based on the likely costs and expenses that the Queensland Government may incur when taking action to rehabilitate or restore and protect the environment because of environmental harm that your activity may cause.
For resource activities, financial assurance is calculated based on the year in which rehabilitation costs are likely to be the highest (e.g. for a permit holder who has to submit a 3 year plan of operations, it will be the year in which the rehabilitation costs are the highest).
You have to calculate financial assurance in accordance with the methodology approved in the Queensland Government's guideline Financial assurance under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 – ESR/2015/1758. The guideline includes details on:
- when financial assurance is required
- calculating financial assurance (you can use the mining or petroleum and gas financial assurance calculator)
- applying for a discount on your financial assurance
- paying financial assurance
- amending, discharging or claiming financial assurances
- mandatory information requirements when applying for a decision on financial assurance by your administering authority
- mandatory decision criteria that the administering authority must consider when making a decision.
Read the overview of changes (PDF, 247KB) for detail on how the guideline was last amended.
To calculate financial assurance, you can use the Queensland Government's:
- Mining financial assurance calculator – ESR/2015/1824 (XLS, 3.7MB)
- Petroleum and gas financial assurance calculator – ESR/2015/1825 (XLS, 2.2MB).
Read the Financial assurance calculator user guide – ESR/2015/1823 (PDF, 622KB) for more information.
Applying for a discount on your financial assurance
If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can qualify for a discount on the amount of financial assurance you are required to pay.
The maximum discount that can be awarded is 30%.
- Financial discount - available where an EA holder submits certified documentation to demonstrate sound financial health and a declaration that the costs of rehabilitation have been adequately budgeted for. Read the Declaration for application of financial discount on financial assurance – ESR/2015/1822 (DOCX, 97KB) and Appendix B (Discount System) of the financial assurance guideline for more information.
- Progressive rehabilitation and certification discount - available for EA holders who avoid impacting areas of remnant vegetation or where areas of significant disturbance are being proactively rehabilitated.
- Waste management discount - available where an EA holder can demonstrate they are not undertaking significant high risk storage activities (waste rock dumps, tailings storage facilities, regulated dams, brine and landfill waste) or they have implemented measures that reduce the amount of waste that would otherwise be stored in onsite high risk storage activities.
Read the guideline Financial assurance under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 – ESR/2015/1758 for more information on how to apply for a discount.
Applying for a decision on financial assurance required
For resource activities on a mining or petroleum lease, you will need to prepare a plan of operations. The rehabilitation plan in the plan of operations must state a proposed amount of financial assurance for the plan period.
Your administering authority will use this plan to assess the amount of financial assurance you must provide.
For all other EAs that do not require a plan of operations, but contain a financial assurance requirement condition, you must apply to your administering authority for a decision about the amount and form of your financial assurance – ESR/2015/1754 (DOCX, 107KB).
Supporting information and documentation required
- Details on how financial assurance has been calculated - such as the electronic worked version of the mining financial assurance calculator – ESR/2015/1824 (XLS, 3.7MB) or petroleum and gas financial assurance calculator – ESR/2015/1825 (XLS, 2.2MB).
- Calculations demonstrating the year of maximum rehabilitation liability - if the financial assurance period is longer than 1 year, you must submit supporting information, with a basic calculation of rehabilitation costs for the alternative years, to show that financial assurance proposed is for the year of maximum rehabilitation liability. You can use the:
- Supporting discount information - to demonstrate you meet the mandatory pre-requisites and criteria in the financial assurance guideline below to apply for a discount e.g. a signed Declaration for application of financial discount on financial assurance – ESR/2015/1822 (DOCX, 97KB).
Read the guideline Financial assurance under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 – ESR/2015/1758 for more details on information requirements and how to calculate financial assurance.
Lodgement of financial assurance
A decision notice on the amount and form of financial assurance will be issued to you by the administering authority, which will specify the amount and form of financial assurance required, and the contact information for lodgement.
The administering authority will require financial assurance to be provided in the form of cash or a bank guarantee. If a bank guarantee is provided, it must be presented on the letterhead of an approved financial institution with the exact wording of the approved Pro-forma for financial institution's undertaking – ESR/2016/1980 (DOCX, 49KB). Any deviation from the pro-forma template will need to be submitted for approval by the administering authority before lodgement will be accepted.
Read the guideline Financial assurance under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 – ESR/2015/1758 for more information about the lodgement of financial assurance.
Claims on your financial assurance
Your administering authority can claim or use your financial assurance to prevent environmental harm or rehabilitate the environment after it has been disturbed.
Your administering authority will notify you before making any claim on your financial assurance. You will be allowed to respond with a written argument against the claim.
Amending or discharging financial assurance
As the EA holder, you can apply to have the financial assurance amended or discharged (changed or returned) by making an application to your administering authority.
The EA holder can apply to amend or discharge the financial assurance, even if the funds have been provided by a third party (e.g. a bank).
For resources activities, you may be required to submit a compliance statement specifying how much your activities have complied with EA conditions.
Your financial assurance will only be discharged if the administering authority decides that no claim is likely to be made on the assurance.
Contact your administering authority for advice on how to apply.
Changing the amount of financial assurance
The administering authority may ask you to change the amount of financial assurance.
You will be sent a notice with the new amount of financial assurance and the form the financial assurance must take (e.g. bank guarantee).
You can make a submission about this new amount and form, which the administering authority will consider when making its final decision.
Replenishing financial assurance
The administering authority can direct you to replenish the financial assurance if all or part of it has been used.
You will be sent a notice stating how much of the financial assurance has been used and how to replenish it.
- Find more forms and fees for environmental authorities, including for financial assurance.