Surrender an environmental authority

Use our forms and fees finder for information on applying for a new environmental authority (EA) or managing your existing EAs.

If you hold an environmental authority (EA) in Queensland you may, at any time, apply to surrender your EA (or, for certain activities, part of your EA) voluntarily. In some circumstances, for example when a resource tenure is relinquished, the administering authority may require you to make a surrender application.

If you no longer require an EA for your environmentally relevant activity (ERA), you should make a surrender application. If you do not surrender your EA you will continue to be charged your annual fee.

Before approving a surrender application, the administering authority will want to make sure that:

  • the site has been adequately managed in accordance with the EA conditions
  • land on which you have been carrying out activities has been satisfactorily rehabilitated or suitably managed in accordance with rehabilitation conditions or the progressive rehabilitation and closure plan (PRCP) schedule for the relevant activities.

How to make a surrender application

To make a surrender application, you should submit an application to surrender an EA to the administering authority for your EA. If your administering authority is a Queensland Government department, you can make a surrender application by submitting either an application for surrender or partial surrender of an EA – resource activity (ESR/2015/1751) (DOCX, 243KB) or an application for surrender of an EA – prescribed environmentally relevant activity (ESR/2015/1719) (DOCX, 121KB). Your form choice will depend on the activities authorised by the EA you wish to surrender. These forms include compliance statements you may need to sign and details of required information.

If you never commenced operation, the only document you are required to provide with your surrender application is a statutory declaration stating that the activity was not carried out.

If the activity was carried out, you must provide the following documents with your surrender application:

  • a final rehabilitation report (if the EA contains conditions about rehabilitation and a PRCP schedule does not apply for the relevant activity)
  • a post-surrender management report (if the EA relates to a resource activity)
  • a compliance statement for your EA in your surrender application.

For more information, see 'Final rehabilitation and post-surrender management reports' below.

In general, you may only make an application to surrender an EA for a resource activity if you also make an application to surrender the relevant tenure under resource legislation.

Partial surrender

The Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) may approve a surrender application for part of an EA that relates to mining, petroleum, or a geothermal activity. This is to ensure that the tenure always covers the same area as the EA, if the tenure for the relevant area has also been surrendered. If you make a surrender under these circumstances, and you are currently required to have a plan of operations, you also need to change your plan.

In your surrender application you will need to specify the part of your EA that is to be surrendered, including the area of the site. If DESI approves the partial surrender it will then amend your EA.

EA relating to a mining activity

If you have applied for a conditional surrender of your tenure, you may apply for a partial EA surrender for the part of the EA that takes place over the land that is being surrendered under the tenure.

Residual risk payment

If you are required to pay a residual risk payment, the surrender does not take effect until the administering authority receives payment. This means that, for example, annual fees must still be paid, and any financial assurance will not be returned, until you make the residual risk payment to finalise the surrender.

Read more about residual risk payments and financial assurance.

Final rehabilitation and post-surrender management reports

Surrender applications for EAs that contain rehabilitation conditions must include a final rehabilitation report. If the EA is for a resource activity, and the activity was carried out, regardless of whether or not a PRCP schedule applies, a post-surrender management report must also accompany the surrender application. The post-surrender management report requires that a risk assessment be carried out in compliance with the Residual risk assessment guideline (ESR/2020/5433) (PDF, 786KB).

These reports must include enough information to allow the administering authority to decide whether you have complied with the conditions of your EA and satisfactorily rehabilitated the land on which you carried out each relevant activity for the EA. You can complete the relevant reports by submitting a final rehabilitation report (ESR/2015/1616) (DOCX, 233KB) and/or a post-surrender management report (ESR/2020/5434) (DOCX, 293KB).

Read more about final rehabilitation reports for non-mining resource activities (ESR/2016/1874) (PDF, 95KB).

Read more about progressive rehabilitation and closure plans (ESR/2019/4964) (PDF, 2.3MB).

Rehabilitation direction

If DESI refuses your surrender application for an EA for a resource activity because your rehabilitation is not adequate, they may direct you to carry out further rehabilitation. This is known as a 'rehabilitation direction'.

DESI will provide you with a rehabilitation direction at the same time as notifying you of the refusal of your surrender application.

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