PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) has welcomed an announcement by the state government to introduce a Green Energy Assessment Unit to support cross-agency innovation and streamline the approvals of critical minerals, hydrogen and renewable energy projects.
The Western Australian government this week announced a A$22.5-million investment to overhaul environmental approvals to shorten the approval timeframes for green energy projects.
A new dedicated cross-government Green Energy Assessment Unit will be established within the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, requiring state government agencies to work together to develop clear assessment pathways and provide high-quality, fit-for-purpose, timely support for proponents and investors.
CME CEO Rebecca Tomkinson said on Friday that the continued efforts to streamline approvals processes were needed given the A$87-billion in mining and resources projects in Western Australia’s medium- and longer-term pipeline.
“This week's announcement will help the Western Australian mining and resources sector advance projects that are critical for the future.
“Many of these projects are required to progress decarbonisation of our industry, and to supply the renewable energy and critical minerals which will power the Australian economy’s transition to net zero by 2050.
“These projects are all subject to extremely rigorous environmental assessments years before any work commences. Meanwhile, we need to move as quickly as possible to meet our decarbonisation targets.
“Improvements in assessment and approvals processes are required to enable ambitious project timeframes to meet our energy transition goals.”
The CME also supported the government’s commitment to deploying a Green Energy Major Projects Group to assist individual projects in navigating an increasingly complex approvals landscape.
“This support will be critical to assisting these important projects to meet project timeframes and deliver the minerals and energy our sector and economy will depend on,” Tomkinson said.
“CME continues to support the streamlining of approvals processes more broadly, with significant opportunities to assist the project pipeline of critical resources projects across Western Australia, and the associated flow of jobs, community investment and royalties to our state.
“The Western Australian mining and resources sector employs more than 157 000 people and the more than A$25-billion it has contributed in royalties over the past two years helps fund health, education and other vital services in communities around the state.”