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WA mining legislation amendments to deliver certainty

The Western Australian Government has approved draft mining amendment legislation to uphold the security of mining licenses and permits in the state.

In 2017, a High Court case between Andrew and Nicola Forrest and Stephen McKenzie Wilson found that granted mining leases were invalid if they didn’t strictly follow the process for preparing and lodging tenement applications as outlined in the Mining Act 1978.

In response to the case’s outcome, the WA Government has introduced a draft for new legislation that will address the procedural matters found in the Mining Act 1978.

Changes outlined in the draft include amendments to address common pitfalls in the tenement application process such as the statements required to accompany an exploration licence application.

It will also address the ruling made in the 2022 Supreme Court which stated that the WA Mines and Petroleum Minister doesn’t have power to excise areas from the grant of an application for an exploration licence.

“The (WA) Government understands the importance of Western Australia’s mining sector to the state and national economies, much of which is underpinned by security of tenure,” WA Mines and Petroleum Minister David Michael said.

“Splitting the draft mining amendment legislation in two will speed up the legislative process and deliver greater certainty to industry. We will continue to work with the Australian Government to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders, including Traditional Owners.”

Resources industry bodies have responded positively to the change.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) chief executive officer (CEO) Warren Pearce said the draft recognises the significant role explorers and miners play.

“AMEC has strongly advocated over many years for security of mining tenure and for changes to the lengthy and costly challenges faced by explorers during the tenement application process,” Pearce said.

“To see this draft amendment legislation is a win for industry and will ensure mineral explorers and miners can get on with what they know best. And not get bogged down in administrative detail.”

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA CEO Rebecca Tomkinson echoed similar sentiments.

“Any amendments to the 46-year-old legislation that can simplify and clarify the requirements of the tenement application process is positive for all stakeholders,” Tomkinson said.

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