Old Legislation

The aim of making old legislation available is to assist with the understanding of the evolution of existing requirements. The old legislation contains many of the recommendations that have been learnt from previous mine accidents and disasters. Whilst we know that a detailed prescriptive approach may not necessarily ensure the safety of our miners, reference to historical requirements may assist with understanding how to achieve effective control today.

The first Australian mining laws were enacted in 1851. Before that, ownership of minerals and petroleum passed to those who were granted title to land by the colonial governors according to common law concepts, except the right to "Royal Mines" (the precious metals of gold and silver) which remained vested in the Crown by virtue of Royal prerogative. From 1855, colonial parliaments legislated for ownership of minerals to be retained by the Crown in future grants of freehold title. Thus, the situation developed where throughout Australia, the Crown in right of the State owns nearly all the minerals.

Specific mine safety legislation was introduced in Queensland 1898. The Mines Regulation Act  was introduced in 1910. A Separate Coal Mining Act was introduced in 1925 following from the Royal Commission into the Mt Mulligan disaster which 75 men and boys were killed. Despite regular amendment and update, the 1925 Coal Mining Act remained in force until 2001, when it was replaced with the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 following the Moura 2 explosion and inquiry in 1994.

In New South Wales, the Coal Mines Regulation Act was introduced in 1912, followed by the Coal Mining Act of 1973, Coal Mining Regulation Act 1982 and Coal Mine Health and Safety Act 2002.

All of this legislation is of course punctuated by the terrible accidents and disasters detailed on this and other web sites. The law, and more importantly, understanding the law and the need for effective mine safety legislation is essential for the safety of all persons who may be affected as a result of mining operations. The evolution of mining legislation deserves a healthy respect.

Click to View Old Legislation.