RER program delivering environmental reforms

Industry has demonstrated high levels of environmental compliance
Date: Friday, 09 October 2015

Compliance activities carried out by Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) Environment Officers have shown consistent levels of environmental compliance by Western Australian mining operators.

The number of compliance activities undertaken by the department’s Environment Division increased 200 per cent in 2014-15 compared to the previous financial year.

DMP Executive Director Environment Dr Phil Gorey said the stable level of environmental compliance in the Western Australian mining industry is reassuring; however, industry and government need to be vigilant, especially in this phase of the commodity cycle.

Compliance activities undertaken by the Environment Division include review of Annual Environmental Reports (AER), desktop site and Mining Rehabilitation Fund audits, and onsite inspections.

“The increase in recent compliance activity comes from a shift in the division’s focus to risk-based assessment and increased compliance monitoring to ensure industry business systems and risks to the environment are being well managed,” Dr Gorey said.

“The introduction of Mining Proposal reform will further enhance DMP’s capacity to increase its compliance and provide assurance to the community that the mining industry is meeting the community’s expectations.

“The change in focus is part of the Reforming Environmental Regulation program the department has been implementing since 2013.”

The division also appointed and trained more inspectors, and is using new technology to assist with compliance intelligence.

Compliance activities assist the Environment Division determine the risk profile for mine sites, allowing the division to prioritise its resources.

DMP’s environmental reform program was praised last year by the Western Australian Auditor General in an audit report that assessed the department’s environmental management of mining activities.

Since RER was introduced, assessment timeframes for a number of environmental applications undertaken by the department have significantly reduced as has the number of applications being rejected or withdrawn.

Compliance activities assist the department’s Environment Division develop risk profiles for mine sites and prioritise resources