WA freezes exploration fees

THE Western Australian government will hold all cost-recovery fees for processing mining, exploration and prospecting applications until the passage of major reform legislation that will cut costs and red tape for about half of WA prospectors.

Marion Lopez

The Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 is before parliament and is set to benefit the industry through simpler, more streamlined approvals when it comes into effect next year.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said he had listened to constructive industry input in his decision to freeze fees and thanked Member for Eyre Graham Jacobs, Member for Kalgoorlie Wendy Duncan and Mining and Pastoral Region councillor Mark Lewis for their advocacy.

“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.”

The Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 modernises and simplifies environmental regulation of the mining industry by reducing the administrative burden on industry.

Under the law, low impact exploration on up to 1.5ha will be exempt from WA approvals and fees, and will instead be subject to prescribed environmental standards and administered under a notification system.

It is expected this will allow them to start activities as soon as the state is notified.

The 1.5ha criterion is interim and will come into effect from July 1 until the Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 takes over.