PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) has welcomed the Western Australian government’s decision to turbocharge regulatory reforms in order to boost economic recovery.
The state government on Friday announced that state laws would be amended to further streamline mining and tourism approvals.
A single approval instrument will be introduced to approve mining activities across multiple tenements, and a new process for low impact exploration and prospecting activities would allow for automated approvals, subject to acceptance of standardised conditions.
In response to industry feedback, duplication in environment reporting would also be removed for mining projects, with one annual environment report required instead of the current requirement of up to three reports under three separate Acts.
Reporting frequency would be also reduced to biennial after three years for projects with satisfactory reporting, and reports would be published online to improve transparency and increase public confidence.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt said on Friday that key approvals agencies would roll into an online 'one-stop shop' for approvals through the government website from January 1, with more to follow from March 1.
"It is critical to Western Australia's economic recovery that we give businesses every encouragement to grow and create jobs, and the government will play its part by simplifying rules and regulations to get faster decisions.
"We want investment and we want businesses to grow, but we also expect high standards to ensure the environment and other interests are protected,” the Treasurer said.
Amec CEO Warren Pearce said that the introduction of a single approval instrument and low impact notification framework were significant reforms that will cut red tape and reduce approval timeframes.
“These measures will make a meaningful improvement to the efficiency of the approvals process in Western Australia.
“A single approval instrument will allow bundling multiple tenements and remove unnecessary administrative duplication.”
“Low impact notification will simplify the approvals process for defined activities that are low risk and have negligible environmental impact.”
“The notification process provides clarity and certainty for a proponent to invest in new mineral exploration projects and will free up departmental resources to prioritise compliance and more complex approvals.”
“These sensible changes will reduce the government’s administrative burden and will not reduce the strong environmental protections currently provided in legislation,” said Pearce.