COVID-19

More red tape cuts for WA miners

WESTERN Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety will accept electronic signatures on documents and allow tenement-related documents to be emailed rather than physically lodged, as part of a move to streamline administrative procedures to help the mining sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Mines Minister Bill Johnston in the Pilbara. Photo by Karma Barndon.

Mines Minister Bill Johnston in the Pilbara. Photo by Karma Barndon.

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Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA CEO Paul Everingham said the chamber asked mines and petroleum minister Bill Johnston and DMIRS for a different approach once it became obvious the lodging of physical documents and the signing of documents by hand was no longer possible, due to social distancing rules.

Everingham said moving mining applications and other administrative procedures online was a win for common sense.

"CME sought this practical approach from the government not only for streamlining and efficiency purposes, but also to ensure that necessary industry engagement could continue during COVID-19," he said.

"The public health response to COVID-19 has included increased work from home and physical distancing requirements, which made preparing, signing and sending documents through the post very difficult and onerous for members."

Everingham said with widespread recognition from the state and federal governments for the role WA's resources sector played in keeping the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was vital regulations and procedures do not stifle or prohibit operations.

Johnston said the mining sector had been cooperative and compliant in response to the measures the government had put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"Maintaining a strong resources sector will be critical in ensuring our state and the wider Australian economy are well-positioned to bounce back when the global economy recovers from this pandemic," he said.

The move was welcomed by Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Warren Pearce, who said industry had been calling for the changes to help modernise requirements and to streamline administrative procedures.

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