WA refines mine approvals process

Western Australia plans to streamline its mine approvals process and prevent any overlaps following a review of administrative agreements in the state.

The state’s Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) Resource and Environmental Compliance executive director Karen Caple said the review would enhance the government’s abilities to administrate regulatory approvals.

“It will ensure we deliver consistent and timely advice, reduce administrative overlap and duplication, and apply a risk-based regulatory approach,” Caple said.

According to the agreement, the DMIRS and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) aim to ensure their responsibilities are consistent, efficient, fair and transparent, while opening the doors to more timely advice and reduction and removal of administrative overlap.

This includes the two departments working together to share information, advice and timeframes on matters including hydraulic fracturing, compliance and industry regulation.

The DMIRS regulates mining, petroleum and geothermal activities in Western Australia, while the DWER manages and regulates the state’s environment and water sources through the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Schedule 7 of the agreement focusses on the agreement between the DMIRS and DWER for mineral exploration.

Under this revision, mining tenements which intrudes on a water resource management area will need to receive consent from the Minister of Mines and Petroleum, under the Mining Act 1978.

However, the Minister of Mines and Petroleum must seek advice from the Minister of Water or Department of Water and Environmental recommendation before giving consent.

DWER Regulatory Services executive director Kelly Faulkner said the agreement would simplify both departments’ responsibilities.

“This new agreement streamlines services, and simplifies and standardises the requirements in previous agreements,” she said.

“I am sure that officers from both DWER and DMIRS will welcome its implementation, and its ability to better enable both agencies to work towards shared goals with clear expectations.”

The agreement between the DMIRS and DWER is reviewed every five years.

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