Operational allocation of coal

The Operational Allocation Framework supports exiting coal explorers and miners in NSW. Operational Allocation is the process for allocating additional coal exploration areas to existing coal exploration licence, assessment or mining lease holders to avoid sterilisation of coal resources, supporting better mine design or extending the life of a mine.

The Operation Allocation Framework is outlined in the Guidelines for coal exploration licence applications for operational allocation purposes.

Limiting factors on applications for Operational Allocations are designed to ensure industry does not land grab but that there is a practical method to gain access to additional resources to support operations.

Key elements of the framework are:

  • Only existing coal exploration licence, assessment and mining lease holders can apply.
  • Application areas are limited and based on the area currently held under title.
  • Applications can only be for prescribed purposes (refer to clause 20 of the Mining Regulation 2016).
  • Applications will be subject to a market interest test.
  • A number of qualitative criteria are also considered as outlined in the guidelines.

Existing coal exploration licence, assessment lease or mining lease holders interested in applying for a coal exploration for operational allocation purposes will need to complete Form EL6 - Application for an exploration licence for Group 9 (coal) for operational allocation purposes.

As well as meeting the requirements of the guidelines, applications must meet all relevant requirements of the Mining Act 1992 and the Mineral prospecting minimum standards.

The Operational Allocation Framework meets the Government's commitments to implement the Independent Commission Against Corruption recommendations to reduce the opportunities and incentives for corruption in the state's management of coal resources, and the Coal Exploration Steering Committee recommendation that this framework be extended to exploration projects. Both reports noted that there may be times when it makes sense to make an allocation to an existing operator. The Operational Allocation Framework replaced the previous direct allocation process.