WA mining legislation amendments to deliver certainty

25 June, 2024

The update on WA mining legislation amendments. The Western Australian Government has approved draft amendments to mining legislation to enhance the security of mining licenses and permits in the state.

In 2017, a High Court case involving Andrew and Nicola Forrest and Stephen McKenzie Wilson determined that granted mining leases were invalid if they did not strictly adhere to the procedures for preparing and lodging tenement applications as specified in the Mining Act 1978.

In response, the WA Government has introduced draft legislation to address these procedural issues in the Mining Act 1978. The proposed amendments aim to rectify common pitfalls in the tenement application process, such as the necessary statements accompanying an exploration license application.

Additionally, the draft will address a 2022 Supreme Court ruling which declared that the WA Mines and Petroleum Minister lacks the authority to exclude areas from the grant of an exploration license application.

“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.”

The resources industry has responded positively to the proposed changes. Warren Pearce, CEO of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), acknowledged the draft’s recognition of the vital 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.”

Rebecca Tomkinson, CEO of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA, expressed similar approval.

“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.