Proponent: Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd

Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd proposes to develop the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project which has an approximate area of 1,675 hectares and is located approximately 20 kilometres north-west of Bairnsdale in East Gippsland, Victoria.

The proposal includes:

  • the development of a mineral sands mine
  • two mining unit plants
  • wet concentrator plant (comprising mineral separation processing and tailings thickening and disposal plant)
  • water supply infrastructure
  • tailings storage facility
  • additional site facilities, such as a site office, warehouse, workshop, loading facilities and fuel storage.

The proposed mining methods involve open pit mining to extract approximately 170 million tonnes of ore over a projected mine life of 20 years to produce approximately 8 Mt of mineral concentrate. Mine products are proposed to be transported via road or by rail for export overseas.

The mining project would require up to 9,000 kilovolt-ampere (kVA) of power likely to be supplied from the electricity grid and annual water requirements of approximately 3 to 4 gigalitres.


Exhibition of EES

The environment effects statement (EES), together with the draft planning scheme amendment and the EPA Works Approval Application, was released for public comment for a period of 40 business days, from Thursday 3 September to 5.00pm on Thursday 29 October 2020.

You can view the EES, draft Planning Scheme Amendment and Works Approval Application and any related documents at Kalbar’s Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project webpage.

You can view the submissions received on Engage Victoria.

Information about the process that will follow the conclusion of the public exhibition period can be found in the Panel or Committee tab.

Amended Procedures and Requirements

On 19 July 2020 the Minister issued amended procedures and requirements under the Environment Effects Act for the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project EES. The amended procedures and requirements relate to the public exhibition and inquiry stages of the EES process, and provide for special measures to be implemented in light of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions that apply under Victoria's state of emergency. In particular, they provide for interested people to register to obtain their own copies of EES documentation, in the absence of the usual public display of hard copies at physical exhibition points, and confirm the extended public exhibition period from 30 to 40 business days. The Minister has also given direction about the possible use of technology such as video-conferencing for hearings of the inquiry.

The Minister issued his original procedures and requirements in December 2016 when he decided that an EES was required. The original procedures and requirements appear on this website in the Minister's Decision section below.

Final Scoping Requirements

The Scoping Requirements set out the matters to be investigated and documented in the EES. Draft Scoping Requirements for this EES were on public exhibition between 13 September 2017 to 6 October 2017. After considering public submissions on the Draft Scoping Requirements, the Minister for Planning issued final Scoping Requirements in April 2018.

To assist with the interpretation of the final Scoping Requirements, please view questions and answers containing guidance on their development here.

Consultation plan

Kalbar has prepared a communication and consultation plan for the EES, outlining the opportunities and approaches for their community engagement during the preparation of the EES. The plan has been refined following advice from the department and Technical Reference Group and is published on this web page. Kalbar welcomes community input on the plan at any time. The consultation process may be adapted or modified to meet changing community needs and requirements.

EES process status

Read the Kalbar fact sheet that summarises the EES process:

Technical Reference Group

DELWP has convened an inter-agency Technical Reference Group at the request of the Minister for Planning to advise DELWP and the proponent on scoping and adequacy of the EES studies and documentation, as well as coordination of the EES process with other statutory processes for the project.

The government organisations represented on the Technical Reference Group are:

  • DELWP - Impact Assessment
  • DELWP - Region & Biodiversity
  • Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources (Earth Resources Regulation)
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Aboriginal Victoria
  • Heritage Victoria
  • EPA Victoria
  • Parks Victoria
  • East Gippsland Water
  • Southern Rural Water
  • West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority
  • East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority
  • VicRoads
  • East Gippsland Shire Council
  • Wellington Shire Council

Technical Reference Group representatives are supported by internal experts on specific aspects of the EES studies.

Minister's Decision

On 18 December 2016 the Minister for Planning required the proponent to prepare an Environment Effects Statements (EES) under the Environment Effects Act 1978 to assess the potential environmental effects of the project:

More information

If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch via the contact details below.

Panel or Committee

Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project Inquiry and Advisory Committee

The Minister for Planning has appointed a joint Inquiry and Advisory Committee, known as the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project Inquiry and Advisory Committee (IAC) to consider and advise on the Environment Effects Statement (EES), EPA Works Approval Application (WAA), the draft Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) affecting the East Gippsland Planning Scheme prepared for the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project.

Terms of Reference

The work and scope of the IAC is guided by the Terms of Reference that were issued by the Minister for Planning on 19 July 2020.

View the Terms of Reference (PDF, 1.2 MB) or (DOCX, 997.4 KB)


The IAC comprises of the following members.

  • Nick Wimbush (Chair)
  • Natasha Reifschneider (Deputy Chair)
  • Meredith Gibbs
  • John Ginivan

Learn more about the members by reading their biographies PDF  (PDF, 135.7 KB)or DOC (DOC, 84.5 KB).


Exhibition period and submissions

The EES for the Fingerboards Mineral Sands project, together with the draft Planning Scheme Amendment to the East Gippsland planning scheme and Works Approval Application was publicly exhibited for a period of 40 business days, from Thursday 3 September and 5.00pm on Thursday 29 October 2020.

You can view the submissions received on Engage Victoria.

Directions Hearing

The Directions Hearing was conducted by video conference using Zoom at 10.00am on Monday 14 December 2020.

A recording of the Directions Hearing is available on YouTube.

The purpose of the Directions Hearing was to:

  • consider any preliminary or procedural issues and give directions about the conduct of the Hearing including the exchange of any expert witness reports
  • make arrangements for the Hearing, including the Timetable and Hearing venue
  • answer any questions people may have about the Hearing.

Second Directions Hearing

The second Directions Hearing was conducted by video conference using Zoom at 10.00am on Monday 15 February 2021.

An audio recording of the second Directions Hearing is available on Youtube.

The purpose of the second Directions Hearing was to set out a new timeframe for the Hearing to commence and to discuss other matters (see tabled document 105).

Third Directions Hearing

The IAC may hold a third Directions Hearing by video conference using Zoom at 10.00am on Wednesday 31 March 2021.

The purpose of the third Directions Hearing is to finalise any outstanding arrangements leading up to the hearing (note this Directions Hearing will only be held if required by the IAC).

Further information about the third Directions Hearing arrangements are available on Engage Victoria.

Public Hearing

The Public Hearing has been adjourned until Monday 3 May 2021 and will run for eight - nine weeks.

Further information about the Hearing arrangements and the Hearing Timetable will be available on Engage Victoria.

The purpose of the Public Hearing is to give people an opportunity to speak in support of their written submission.The Public Hearing is open for anyone to come along and watch.


The Inquiry and Advisory Committee will submit its report to the Minister for Planning within 40 business days from the completion of its Public Hearing, in accordance with the Terms of Reference.

 More information

If you have any questions or need further information, get in touch via the contact details below.

Inquiry and Advisory Committee Process and making a submission
Planning Panels Victoria
✉ Email: Fingerboards.IAC@delwp.vic.gov.au
☎ Phone: 136 186

Ministers Assessment and EES Process
Impact Assessment Unit, DELWP
☎ Phone: (03) 8392 5503
✉ Email: environment.assessment@delwp.vic.gov.au

Proposed Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project:
Kalbar Operations Pty Ltd
☎ Phone: 1800 791 396
✉ Email: contactus@fingerboardsproject.com.au

EPA Works Approval
EPA Victoria
☎ Phone: 1300 372 842
✉ Email: works.approvals@epa.vic.gov.au
View the EPA website for further information.

Have your say

Have your say and make a submission to the Inquiry and Advisory Committee

Status: Closed

Fingerboards Mineral Sands Project Inquiry and Advisory Committee

Make a submission to the Inquiry and Advisory Committee

Submissions opens on

12.00am - Thursday 03 September 2020

Submissions close on

5.00pm - Thursday 29 October 2020

You can view the submissions received on Engage Victoria.


All documentation relating to this project can be found on the Engage Victoria website here.

EES documents

Terms of Reference

Public Notice

Scoping Requirements

Consultation Plan:

Minister's Reason for Decision: