For the purposes of resource protection, Basic Raw Materials (BRM) include sand (including silica sand), clay, hard rock, limestone (including metallurgical limestone) and gravel and other construction and road building materials. These materials are produced relatively cheaply, with the major cost being the transport to the construction site. A ready supply of BRM close to established and developing parts of the State is essential in keeping down the costs of land development and contributing to affordable housing.
DMIRS provides spatial data and information regarding BRM to ensure its importance at both local and regional levels is considered at the earliest stages of government’s land use planning, and that BRM resources are identified and utilised efficiently through the planning and development processes.
The need for BRM is driven by local demand, which in turn is driven by population growth - this mainly occurs around the larger population centres. Proximity to the market is paramount due to transport costs. Land use issues mostly occur when an expanding growth centre encroaches upon the BRM quarry sites.
Approximately 40% sand and 60% rock demand is estimated to be for non-residential purposes. For example approximately 12 million tonnes of sand and 1.3 million tonnes of limestone was required to build the Perth to Bunbury highway.
Limestone and limesand also have important uses in agriculture. For examples by combining lime and gypsum to their soils, growers in low rainfall areas, with predominantly acidic soils, have the potential to increase wheat yields by up to 30 per cent (DPIRD, 2019).
Mining Lease versus Extractive Industry Licence for BRM
The administration of BRM extraction in Western Australia is complex, with the relevant legislation and approval authorities dependent upon land ownership and, in some cases, use of the material.
BRM extraction can occur on Crown land or private land. BRM extraction on Crown Land (unallocated, reserves or pastoral leases) for commercial sale requires a Mining Lease. Mining tenements are issued under the Mining Act 1978 and are administered by DMIRS. BRM extraction on private land (freehold) requires approval under the Planning and Development Act 2005 (Development Approval) and the Local Government Act 1995 (Extractive Industry Licences). This is due to BRM not being defined as a mineral for the purposes of the Mining Act 1978.
A guide for BRM extraction is available from the West Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).
An applicant’s manual is available from the WAPC to assist applicants in understanding the legislative requirements associated with establishing an extractive operation in Western Australia.
BRM State Planning Policies
The importance of BRM is recognised in State’s planning policies.
- State Planning Policy 2.4 - Basic Raw Materials (SPP 2.4) sets out the matters which are to be taken into account and given effect to by the WAPC and local governments in considering zoning, subdivision and development applications for extractive industries. The objectives of this policy are to:
- identify the location and extent of known BRM resources;
- protect priority resource locations, key extraction areas and extraction areas from being developed for incompatible land uses which could limit future exploitation;
- ensure that the use and development of land for the extraction of basic raw materials does not adversely affect the environment or amenity in the locality of the operation during or after extraction; and
- provide a consistent planning approval process for extractive industry proposals including the early consideration of sequential land uses.
- State Planning Policy 2.5 - Rural Planning (SPP 2.5) is the basis for planning and decision-making for rural and rural living land across Western Australia. One of the objectives of the SPP 2.5 is to secure significant BRM resources and provide for their extraction. Section 5.9 stipulates the requirements for BRM outside the Perth and Peel planning regions.
Region Planning Schemes
The WAPC prepare region schemes for the effective planning and coordination of land use and development. The schemes are approved by Parliament. There are three region schemes in operation in Western Australia - the Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS), Peel Region Scheme (PRS) and Greater Bunbury Region Scheme (GBRS).
PRS and GBRS have specific policies and mapping to protect important BRM (now Significant Geological Supply (SGS) areas) and Strategic Minerals.
SGS’ are areas identified by DMIRS as having State significance due to the size of the resource, relative scarcity, demand and/or location near growth areas and transport routes. The draft revised SPP 2.4 provides additional support for the inclusion of SGS areas and protection policies in Region Schemes and Local Strategies, Schemes and Structure Plans.
BRM spatial information and useful links
DMIRS has a range of publicly accessible systems and resources. DMIRS’ interactive geological map tool GeoVIEW.WA identifies, among others:
- Significant Geological Supply (SGS) - identified as the highest priority extraction areas for BRM.
- Extraction Sites – known or proposed BRM Extractive Sites and quarries.
Select layers under ‘Land Use Planning’ in the table of contents.
BRM spatial resource data will continue to be updated over time. However, it is important to note that not all Extractive Sites are captured in the BRM data due to constraints in accessing information, as well as the fact that some Extractive Sites may only be in operation for short periods of time and their operation may commence and cease in between updates.
For further information about BRM or land use planning, email: