WA mines minister Bill Marmion has tabled a new bill in parliament which will consolidate environmental management provisions in the Mining Act 1978 into one part.
The Department of Mines and Petroleum announced the Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 will simplify environmental regulation to reduce administrative burdens on industry.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said he had listened to constructive industry input in developing the new bill.
The Minister gave his thanks to Eyre MLA Graham Jacobs, Kalgoorlie MLA Wendy Duncan and Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Mark Lewis for their advocacy of the new bill.
“Thanks to their work, other funding options have come forward and are now under consideration by my department,” Marmion said.
“I am confident this approach will help reduce confusion and concern.”
While the bill makes progress through parliament, cost-recovery fees for processing mining, exploration and prospecting applications will be deferred to complement the passage of reform legislation which will streamline the approvals process for industry.
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Simon Bennison said the deferral of new fees for programmes of work and mining licenses was well received by industry."
“It is extremely positive that the Minister has listened to feedback from industry and common sense has prevailed," Bennison said.
“Other funding options should have been the first consideration, not cost recovery of key departmental services."
The bill will remove the need to apply for a separate native vegetation clearing permit to make it simpler to prepare a mining proposal and greatly reduce lead time.
In addition, tenement holders will no longer have to report annually on their environmental conditions, and “low impact activities” will not need prior approval before they are carried out.
“DMP recognises that small areas of disturbance can be managed with little environmental impact, and that many of these activities do not need an individual environmental assessment,” the department said.
Proposed legislation will not prescribe the types of environmental management system to be required, however the DMP has suggested smaller operators will be able to utilise a simple, paper-based system to cover procedures and practices to minimise environmental harm.
According to DMP the bill will also strengthen the powers of environmental inspectors to allow the department to deal more effectively with illegal mining activities without environmental protections.