Queensland explorers warn that ‘compliance creep’ is hurting sector

Queensland’s explorers believe the performance of the sector has been ‘good, but could do better’ as the application process continues to cause concern.

In its sixth annual Queensland exploration scorecard, the Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) outlined that while a joint industry/government approach to overcoming current challenges was showing some positive signs, the state’s explorers responded that ‘compliance creep’ was undoing some of the progress.

“Explorers feel that they need reforms to stand still. The industry welcomes the tangible achievements in reforming application systems and improved access to geoscientific data; but feels real frustration at cumulative compliance creep, particularly on environmental issues,” the report states.

A key achievement in Queensland has been the reduction in time taken by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines to process exploration applications, with 91 per cent of applications now processed within 12 months, or six months if there is no native title.

In addition, Queensland’s joint industry/government taskforce has focused on addressing challenges facing the state’s north west minerals province, where companies are being forced to explore deeper and beneath non-mineralised cover material.

The state is also collaboratively developing a gas supply and demand action plan, which has a vision of setting it apart from other jurisdictions in Australia.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the sector welcomed the work of the joint industry-government taskforce to address the challenges facing the northwest minerals province.

“Likewise, we welcome the collaborative development of the gas supply and demand action plan. It is important that Queensland has a positive vision for gas, unlike southern jurisdictions who have chosen to bury their head in the sand,” Macfarlane said.

“However, explorers are frustrated by cumulative compliance creep, particularly on environmental issues. Ever changing regulations create policy uncertainty and make it harder for our explorers to secure investment capital.”

The report found that Queensland explorers are also worried about commodity prices, operating and investment sentiment, overall mineral and petroleum exploration activity, and market capitalisation movement.

The QEC surveyed proponents of more than 300 exploration projects for the report.

Download the report on the Queensland Exploration Council website.

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