The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has provided updated information on the criteria for explorers and prospectors, highlighting land disturbance limits.
In a document titled The 101 of excess tonnage and exploration, the DMIRS outlined the process for explorers and prospectors to apply for the correct licensing to continue operations.
DMIRS executive director resource and environmental compliance Karen Caple said the onus is on applicants to know the limits of their licence and to act accordingly.
“It is the responsibility of the tenement holder to maintain accurate records of tonnage disturbances, and to seek excess tonnage and programme of works approvals when required,” she said.
“The excess tonnage accumulates over the life of the tenement, and is not reduced or removed as a result of rehabilitation activities, partial tenement surrender or conversion of tenure.”
Under the Mining Act 1978, holders of exploration and prospecting licences are able to excavate and extract or remove from the land, earth, soil, rock, stone, fluid or mineral bearing substances within specified limits.
These limits are 500 tonnes for a prospecting licence and 1000 tonnes for an exploration or retention licence.
Even if rehabilitation activities or conversion of licence tenure occurs, the limit still applies to the land, according to the DMIRS.
This updated information is particularly important as the Department receives dozens of applications for new exploration every month.
“As a department, we receive applications for excess tonnage for an average 41 tenements per month,” the DMIRS stated.
“Since July 2017, more than 80 per cent of applications for excess tonnage have been approved, while 3 per cent are refused.
“Applications may be refused where the necessary Native Title or tenement holder consents are not provided; or where the related programme of work is not supported on environmental grounds; or where the proposed ground disturbing activities do not constitute prospecting or exploration.”
Visit The 101 of excess tonnage and exploration to learn more.