Environmental and planning approvals for exploration and mining projects can be highly influential to the initial beginnings and overall success of your project. To guarantee that your project can be as streamlined as possible, it’s crucial that you acquire the expertise of a consultancy that specialises in securing environmental, planning and other ancillary approvals.

At Hetherington, we’ve been doing this for more than 30 years. Not only will we help to secure your approval initially, but we will also provide guidance and support throughout your project to ensure you maintain and safeguard compliance with your key approvals so that your operations can proceed without complication.



Our planning and environmental approvals services are many and varied, meaning we can support you throughout all aspects of obtaining and sustaining the rights associated with your mining or exploration approval.

The relevant environmental, planning and other ancillary approvals necessary to get a project off the ground vary between jurisdictions. Exploration projects may require activity approvals, program for environment protection and rehabilitation or a programme of works depending on the jurisdiction and these approvals may need to be accompanied by a groundwater assessment, threatened species test of significance or agricultural impact statement depending on the intensity of the operations and the sensitivities of the underlying land. A mining operation may require development approval or an EPA referral, which in turn may need to include biodiversity offset, heritage impact assessment or an environmental impact statement. Hetherington can provide strategic advice to help navigate approval frameworks in each jurisdiction to secure relevant approvals, which are required in order to get on the ground, maintain overall compliance and satisfying internal ESG requirements.

Exploration and mining projects can require different types of approvals, which vary depending on the nature of activities, the sensitivity of the underlying and surrounding land, and of course the jurisdiction you are working in. Hetherington provides expert advice and assistance in the preparation and lodgement of different types of approvals to facilitate any project.

If required, Hetherington offers on-site assessments conducted by Hetherington Environmental’s environmental consultants. We also offer project management and organisation of appropriate contractors for larger projects or specialist studies. These services are particularly important for liability assessments and environmental compliance audits, which require on-site assessments.

Our in-depth understanding of exploration and mining administrative frameworks and parallel environment assessment and approvals processes means we are uniquely placed to provide guidance on operational documents including programmes of works (POW), mining operations plans (MOP), rehabilitation management plans (RMP) programs for environment protection and rehabilitation (PEPR) and environmental authorities (EA) to undertake environmentally relevant activities (ERA). Part of this process includes calculation of environmental liabilities or rehabilitation cost estimates, and environmental audits.

As operations progress over the life of an exploration or mining project, rehabilitation liabilities shift. It is critical that approval conditions are complied with and that ongoing rehabilitation occurs to achieved ongoing compliance and a safe and stable final landform, as well as limit ongoing environmental liabilities. Hetherington provides strategic advice in relation to ongoing liabilities and customised strategies for progressive reduction of liabilities over time to reduce the risk profile of a project and achieve internal and external environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals and obligations.

The suite of operational approvals and licences, including development approvals, environmental protection license (EPL), water access licences (WAL), water supply works approvals and environmental management plans can be overwhelming, particularly at the start of a project. Hetherington can assist with these processes, streamlining internal approvals processes and allowing clients to focus on other project components.

The status of underlying land titles is a critical consideration in the approval and permitting of any project, and provides the foundation for effective engagement with local stakeholders. Hetherington’s services, include review, analysis and management of land titles within and in proximity to exploration and mining projects. We also provide advice in relation to the status of land tenure across all Australian jurisdictions and can undertake analysis of historic tenure to assess the status of underlying rights, including Native Title.

Boundary roads, paper roads and Crown roads often mean the same thing and are particularly common in rural Australia. Projects can often benefit from acquiring these land parcels to consolidate project footprints and limit administrative requirements. Hetherington can assist with the acquisition or closure of roads, dealing with relevant Government Departments and providing advice on the timing of these processes.

Different approvals may have reporting obligations in parallel to tenement reporting. Hetherington can assist with the preparation and lodgement of these reports in accordance with relevant policies, guidelines and legislation.

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