NSW’s State Approvals

Environmental Assessment – Part 3A

The Dargues Gold Mine was assessed under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP & A Act). The following kinds of development may be declared to be a project to which Part 3A applies:

  • Major infrastructure or other development that, in the opinion of the Minister, is of State or regional environmental planning significance.
  • Major infrastructure or other development that is an activity for which the proponent is also the determining authority (within the meaning of Part 5) and that, in the opinion of the proponent, would (but for this Part) require an environmental impact statement to be obtained under that Part.

Prior to approval of the Mine, Part 3A of the EP & A Act was repealed and responsibility for assessment of the Mine was passed to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. The PAC undertook further assessment and review of the Mine before approving the Mine on the 2 September 2011.

Following the granting of mine approval, a 28 day appeal period is provided to allow objectors to the Mine to submit an appeal. Two appeals against the Mine were received, one from the Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) and one from the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), on behalf of the Coastwatchers Association and the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA). Both appeals were settled out of court with final mine approval granted on 7 February 2012 by the Land and Environment Court (LEC).

The approval documents are provided below.

An Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared during the approval stage of the Dargues Gold Mine. The EA document provides the basis’s for many of the conditions and commitments required of the Mine and is included in full below.

Modification 1 – Paste Fill

The Dargues Gold Mine has been working on a range of environmental value-adding initiatives, since completing its original Environmental Assessment, which are expected to further ameliorate some of the communities concerns. One of these initiatives is the use of paste fill to fill underground mine voids.  Paste fill is expected to allow the following:

  • Return tailings underground reducing the footprint of the tailing storage facility.
  • Reduce the groundwater recovery period post mining.
  • Improve ground support within the mine, during and following mining.
  • Improve safety.
  • Increase the economics of the mine by allowing more complete extraction of the orebody.

In order to utilise paste fill, the Dargues Gold Mine sought approval for a modification to the Mine under Section 75W of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Paste fill was originally mentioned in the Dargues Reef Project Environmental Assessment, which introduced the concept of Paste fill, but required further investigation, which has now been completed.

A copy of the Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the Modification of PA10_0054, to allow the use of Paste fill at the Dargues Gold Mine can be found below.

The Environmental Assessment (EA) for the use of paste fill at the Dargues Gold Mine was placed on public exhibition for a period of two weeks, from the 16 to 30 May 2012. A copy can be obtained by following the link below.

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure approved the modification to the Project on 12 July 2012. A copy of the Notice of Modification, which includes the additional conditions the Mine must operate under, is available below.

Modification 2 – Regularisation of Project Layout

Following approval of the mine, the Dargues Gold Mine has undertaken detailed design work prior to commencement of pre-development earth works at the site. The proposed modification is being sought to regularise a range of changes in the layout of the Project that have been identified during the detailed design phase of the Project. The objectives in modifying the project approval are:

  • To ensure that the detailed design and as-constructed layout conform with the assessed and approved layout.
  • To reduce, to the maximum extent practicable, the overall environmental impact of the Project.
  • To minimise, to the maximum extent practicable, the impact on the local community and other stakeholders.

The Environmental Assessment – Modification 2 was placed on public exhibition, for a period of two weeks, from the 7-28 August 2013.

During the public exhibition period for Modification 2 a number of submissions were received. A response to each of the submissions received is provided below.

Following the determination of Modification 2 the Department of Planning and Infrastructure issued revised conditions of approval. These conditions are provide below

Modification 3

The Dargues Gold Mine has been undertaking technical reviews to determine the best way forward to activate the project. These technical reviews have indicated the need to modify the following aspects of the project:

  • Relocation of the surface waste rock emplacement;
  • Development of an access road across Spring Creek to the Tailings Storage Facility; and
  • Extension of the project completion date.

The Environmental Assessment – Modification 3 can be downloaded from the below link.

Following the determination of Modification 3 the Planning Assessment Commission issued revised conditions of approval. These conditions are provide below

Modification 4

The Dargues Gold Mine Modification 4 was submitted to allow a change to the location of the Spring Creek Crossing and to include administrative changes related to the ownership of properties subject to the Project Approval.

A copy of the Dargues Gold Mine Modification can be accessed from here.



  • 18 March – Planning Focus Meeting
  • 23 April – Director Generals requirements received identifying the agencies to be consulted
  • 7 May – Onsite meeting with Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.
  • 30 July – Environmental Assessment submitted for adequacy
  • 10 September – Environmental Assessment submitted for exhibition
  • 29 September to 1 November – Environmental Assessment exhibition period
  • 9-11 November – Public submissions received.
  • 20 December – Main response document submitted


  • 28 May – Minister delegates determination of the Mine to PAC
  • 29 July – Addendum finalised
  • 22-23 August – PAC Meeting
  • 2 September – Approval Granted with conditions
  • 14 September to 18 October – Objector appeal period (two appeals were received)
  • 16 December – ESC withdraws their appeal against the Mine


  • 7 February – EDO withdraws their appeal against the Mine
  • 7 February – Final Project Approval granted by the LEC
  • 16-30 May – Environmental Assessment – Modification 1, was placed on public exhibition
  • 12 July – Department of Planning Infrastructure approved Modification 1


  • 30 July 2013 – Environmental Assessment for Modification 2 formally submitted and political donations form signed
  • 7 August 2013 – Advertised in the Braidwood Times
  • 7-28 August – Public Comment period
  • 15 October 2013 – Draft Conditions received
  • 17-24 October 2013 – Draft Conditions placed on public display
  • 24 October 2013 – Modification 2 determined by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure
  • 28 October 2013 – Conditions received by the Proponent and made publicly available.


  • 9 July 2015 – Environmental Assessment for Modification 3 formally submitted
  • 15 July 2015 – Environmental Assessment – Modification 3 placed on public exhibition
  • 26 August 2015 – Public exhibition of the Environmental Assessment – Modification 3 ends


  • 10 August 2016 – Planning Assessment Commission determines Modification 3