08/06/2015 - 13:23

Red tape cuts for local prospectors

08/06/2015 - 13:23

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The state government expects about half of local prospectors’ program of work applications will be fee-free from the start of July, after it substantially increased the size threshold.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion.

The state government expects about half of local prospectors’ program of work applications will be fee-free from the start of July, after it substantially increased the size threshold.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said the state government had increased the interim low-impact threshold of exploration activities, from 0.25 hectares to 1.5ha, in an effort to cut red tape for prospectors.

From July 1, Department of Mines and Petroleum assessment fees will be $6,950 per mining proposal, and $590 per non-exempt program of work.

Mr Marmion said the decision was made after careful consideration of concerns raised by the industry.

“The new definition means a large number of smaller operations will continue to enjoy fee-free prospecting, as we work to finalise legislation that will enshrine low-impact activities in law and significantly reduce red tape when it comes into force early next year,” he said.

The Mining Act Amendment Bill 2015 will make low-impact operations exempt from requiring approvals and assessment fees. Instead, they will be subject to prescribed environmental standards and administered under a notification system.

“While I am committed to consultation, I am equally committed to modernising environmental regulation of the mining industry,” Mr Marmion said.

Meanwhile, at the opening of WA’s inaugural ‘Water Management for Shale and Tight Gas Resources’ seminar in Perth today, the minister flagged new state government safeguards to manage the state’s developing shale and tight gas industry.

“I expect the new resource management and administration regulations will come into force next month,” Mr Marmion said.

“WA already has some of the world’s toughest regulations and disclosure rules and these reforms will further strengthen our stringent petroleum industry controls, with particular emphasis on well integrity and water monitoring.”

The minister told speakers and delegates at the seminar that they shared a responsibility to counter deliberate misinformation about the shale and tight gas industry with sound scientific knowledge.

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