Australian Mining Prospect Awards: Contribution to Mining

The winner of the Prospect Award for Contribution to Mining is former WA mines minister, the Honourable Norman Moore.

Moore is now the chairman of strategic communications firm Cannings Purple, which provides advice and public relations services to resource sector clients.

Moore was a WA parliamentarian for 36 years, who started life as a Kalgoorlie local, and worked as a school principle before his move into politics.

During the eight years he served as the WA mines and petroleum minister, Moore was the driving force behind a number of reforms in the mining industry, in particular with regard to mine safety, environmental bonds for rehabilitation, and minerals research. In 2008 a spate of mining fatalities prompted the newly appointed minister for mines and petroleum to demand an urgent review into safety regulation, culture and practices within the State's mining operations.

This review was carried out over the following twelve months, and resulted in two key recommendations: for cost-recovery regimes that would collect funds from mining companies to increase the number of mine safety inspectors, and for implementation of "safety case" regimes at individual mines that would involve all staff on site to improve the culture of safety.

With legislation passing parliament in late 2009, the following two years did not see a single fatality in the mining industry in WA.

Moore also introduced legislation to establish the Mining Rehabilitation Fund through the WA Parliament.

The fund insures the State against the risk of having to pay for rehabilitation in the event of business failure and default by mining companies. The fund was carefully designed to minimise increases in cost to miners and has been embraced by the industry.

Early in his career as mines minister Moore witnessed what he regarded to be a fragmented and uncoordinated approach to minerals research in WA, and saw a need for the development of legislation to establish an institute which would work closely with the WA industry to identify the key areas of research required.

The focus of the institute would be directed by a research priority plan that would prioritise the medium to long term knowledge and technology needs of the State's minerals industry.

Moore introduced the legislation to Parliament and advocated for its passage. His vision finally came to fruition in late 2013 with the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia Act 2013 receiving royal assent and allowing the establishment of the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia. The institute is already attracting investment.

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