Mine approvals to be fast tracked

Queensland mining and resources industry experts will convene today to improve the exploration and development approval processes.

Mining industry experts will meet for the first time today to discuss development of a fast track approval system for Queensland mines.

The Queensland Government has called for the review after the mining and resources sector haemorrhaged jobs during the global financial crisis.

Representatives from the coal, oil and gas, and mineral sectors have convened to draw up a report for next April, with proposals designed to streamline the exploration and development approval processes.

The project aims to fast track the process, offer greater transparency, improve native title assessments and create a platform to build an online approval tracking system.

It is also looking to increase active case management.

However, the streamlining project will not look to jeopardise or remove existing environmental standards.

To date the project has already implemented phase one.

The project will be headed by the Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche.

Roche explained that the Government must continue to implement reforms and the resources necessary to ensure the State’s regulatory frameworks succeed.

As of 31 August 2009, it took 339 days to grant a coal exploration permit; 495 days to grant a mineral exploration permit; and 454 days to grant a mineral development licence, Roche said.

Current delays in approvals mean that a relatively small percentage of total applications are being processed, denying the State additional revenues, he added.

The project is part of the Queensland Government’s goal to generate 100,000 jobs within the State.

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