Joint Interaction Management Plan – checklist for coal parties
A Joint Interaction Management Plan (JIMP) is designed to identify and manage safety hazards in an area that is overlapped by both coal and coal seam gas (CSG) tenure. You may think that a JIMP is required only where there is significant interaction between coal and CSG activities. That is not the case. This article explains the JIMP triggers and the consequences of a failure to have a JIMP in place.
The first step to determine if a JIMP is required, is to consider if your activities are “coal mining operations”. The definition of coal mining operations in the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld) (CMSH Act) is much broader than the normal every day meaning of coal mining operations. The legislative definition of coal mining operations includes activities carried out at a coal mine that are associated with the following:
The definition of coal mine is similarly broad and includes activities carried out within an exploration permit for coal, mineral development licence or mining lease.
It is not just an overlap with an authority to prospect or a petroleum lease that may trigger a JIMP requirement. You may also need a JIMP if your tenure overlaps a data acquisition authority, water monitoring authority, survey licence, pipeline licence, or petroleum facility licence.
The answers to questions (1) and (2) above will determine if you have a relevant “overlapping area”. The next consideration is if coal mining operations physically affect, or may physically affect, the safety of persons or plant in that overlapping area. Our view is that there is a potential for coal mining operations to impact safety in any circumstance where the coal and gas party have rights to simultaneously access the same area of land.
If you answer “yes” to all of questions (1), (2) and (3), a JIMP is required.
The above approach may be seen as conservative, but there is good reason for such an approach.
If the site senior executive (SSE) does not comply with the requirement to make a JIMP there is a maximum penalty of $66,725. It is not just the SSE who may be liable for this failure. It is an obligation of the coal mine operator to ensure that the site senor executive develops and implements a safety and health management system for the mine (a JIMP forms part of the safety and health management system). There are also more general obligations for a coal mine operator to ensure the risk to coal mine workers is at an acceptable level. If those obligations are not discharged, then the liability is varied depending on the consequence of the breach with maximum penalties for a corporation ranging from $667,250 to over $4,000,000.
The CMSH Act also imposes a requirement on officers of a corporation to ensure the corporation complies with its obligations under the Act. An officer includes the directors and secretary of the corporation and extends to a person who makes or participates in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business of the corporation.