Director's foreword

Executive Director, Environment, Phil Gorey

Executive Director, Environment, Phil Gorey

It is Golden Gecko season again and this year, for the first time, the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has opened the award ceremony to the public. We are also holding a seminar where finalists will present their projects, hopefully inspiring others and leading to even better environmental outcomes in the future. It is becoming increasingly important for the mining and petroleum industries to display their environmental credentials and give the Western Australian community confidence in their activities.

The Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) is also an important part of this future.  At the time of writing, almost $20 million had been paid into the MRF and as the fund grows, interest earned will be used to rehabilitate abandoned sites. The MRF team can't wait to get started!

We were delighted at industry's take-up of the MRF in the first year, with 96.5 per cent of tenement holders completing their registration and disturbance data submission by the due date of 30 June. Most remaining tenement holders have since complied, with only around 65 tenement holders still being chased up. These holders may be obliged to pay the $4000 infringement for each tenement, however, we are doing our best to prevent this from happening and MRF staff are working with holders to get any outstanding data.

Now that most MRF data has been received, we are seeing the most comprehensive and up to date dataset being compiled on the disturbance footprint and reported levels of rehabilitation of Mining Act tenements. Given the department has a strong transparency policy, all of the MRF data will be made available on our website to be available for both industry and community.


Dr Phil Gorey
Executive Director Environment

2014 Golden Gecko Awards for Environmental Excellence

Tickets for the 23rd Golden Gecko Awards night are now available from Stars Events or directly from the Golden Gecko website . For the first time this year, anyone may attend the awards ceremony, and a seminar is being held prior to the ceremony where the finalists will present their projects.

2014 Golden Gecko Awards for Environmental ExcellenceDMP instigated the Awards in 1992 to recognise environmental excellence and leadership, and acknowledge the outstanding contribution recipients have made to develop WA's resources in a responsible manner. The Awards night, which will be held at the Duxton Hotel on 9 October 2014, demonstrates a diverse array of submissions for what is one of the highest environmental accolades achievable in the Western Australian resources sector.

Six submissions have been shortlisted for 2014. Entries are assessed on their commitment to environmental excellence; demonstrated excellent environmental outcomes; community engagement; and ability to demonstrate innovation. Other considerations in the assessment of entries include leadership, providing a new industry standard, and/or demonstrating performance above and beyond compliance.

The Minister for Mines and Petroleum presents award recipients with a Golden Gecko Award sculpture, crafted by local artist George Kosturkov. A Certificate of Merit may be awarded to entrants who demonstrate determined efforts towards achieving excellence and leadership in environmental performance. The successful applicants will be announced at the awards ceremony on 9 October 2014.



9 October 2014


3:00pm – 5:00pm

Golden Gecko Awards Event:

5:30pm – 8.30pm


Duxton Hotel Ballroom
1 St Georges Terrace, Perth

Ticket Cost:

$80 per person, includes drinks and canapé package.

How to pay:

Use this link Stars Events
or visit the Golden Gecko website

Bookings close

Friday, 3 October 2014 and payment must be received by this date.

Further information:

Phone       Richard Smetana on (08) 9222 3639

Stakeholder feedback invited on revised guidelines for Annual Environmental Reports

An Annual Environmental Report (AER) is required under the Mining Act 1978 for all mining projects that have the AER condition imposed on the relevant tenement while the tenement(s) remain live.

From 1 July 2013, DMP has required online submission of AERs via the Environment and Assessment Regulatory System (EARS2). As a consequence, DMP no longer accepts hard copy AERs.

Revised AER guidelines have been drafted to assist industry operators with the information required in support of an online AER submission. DMP invite stakeholders to provide feedback on the revised AER guidelines which are available on the Guidelines for the Preparation of an Annual Environmental Report DMP website page.

Feedback can be submitted up to 7 October 2014.
Queries and feedback should be sent to

While the intent of the guidelines remains unchanged, industry will note revision of key sections on the presentation of disturbance data. To align with the reporting requirements of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012, there have been changes to the format in which disturbance and rehabilitation data is to be reported within the AER.  Mine Activity Types (formerly known as ‘Disturbance Types’) have been redefined and Rehabilitation Category Stages have been reclassified to meet the requirements of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Regulations 2013. This information is now consolidated in the ‘Mine Activity Areas’ section of the AER. 

The Department encourages all industry operators required to submit an AER to review the guidelines, as accurate AER submissions will reduce the work required of tenement holders with regard to reporting obligations under both the Mining Act 1978 and Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012.




Introducing Risk-Based Regulation under the Mining Act 1978

One of the priorities of DMP's Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program is the move to a risk-based model of regulation. To introduce risk-based and outcomes focused regulation under the Mining Act 1978 DMP will be recommending that the government amend the Act and the Mining Regulations 1981. DMP will also be revising statutory guidelines for approval documents.

There are two key concepts of the regulatory framework. Firstly, regulatory effort will be targeted on the achievement of environmental outcomes, with increased focus on compliance assurance. Secondly, industry's assessment requirements will be proportional to environmental risks and industry will be responsible for identifying and implementing risk management strategies, together with reporting on their performance.

Proposed amendments to the Mining Act include consolidating all of the environmental regulatory provisions. This will clearly demarcate between the provisions supporting the grant of tenure and the subsequent regulation of activities on tenure.

The key amendments are:

For details of upcoming consultation opportunities relating to RER see Upcoming Consultation on Environmental Reform Projects.


Upcoming Consultation on Environmental Reform Projects

As part of implementation of the Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) recommendations, the DMP is continuing work to introduce a risk-based and outcomes-based regulatory framework for Mining Proposals.

In October 2014, DMP is planning to hold an industry briefing session to discuss the status of reforms to Mining Proposals, as well as other environment reform projects such as updates to the Mine Closure Plan Guidelines.

In conjunction with this briefing session, a draft Mining Proposal format and structure discussion paper will be made available for comment for a four week period. The briefing session and discussion paper will provide stakeholders with an early opportunity to provide input into the future structure of risk and outcome-based Mining Proposals, as well as an opportunity to provide feedback or comment.

DMP is also establishing an industry reference group to contribute to the Mining Proposal reforms. More information on this will be provided at the briefing session.

If you would like to attend this briefing session please register at the Reforming Environmental Regulation Industry Briefing Session page on the website.

Please register early as seats are limited.


Reforming Environmental Regulation Industry Briefing Session

Venue:        Lecture Theatre
                    HBF “Challenge” Stadium
                    100 Stephenson Ave
                    Mt Claremont WA 6010


Date:           Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Time:           8:30am – 1.00pm


Proposed agenda themes



Please register at the Reforming Environmental Regulation Industry Briefing Session page on the website by 26 September 2014.

Proposal to introduce Cost Reflective Pricing for Environmental Regulation of the WA Mining Sector

DMP invites submissions on the proposed introduction of partial cost reflective pricing for environmental regulation under the Mining Act 1978.

The proposed changes will ensure DMP meet the future needs of the community and industry – ensuring community expectations of environmental performance are met and delivering industry a robust social licence to operate.

The changes are an important part of DMP’s environmental reform program. Environment Division Executive Director Dr Phil Gorey said the department has released a consultation paper that outlines the pricing options.

“At the commencement of the Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) initiative in February 2012, we identified that the required funding to deliver the department’s future environmental regulatory services would exceed existing levels of government appropriation,” Dr Gorey said.

“Given that these reforms have progressed significantly, it is now timely to consider the funding options.”

Dr Gorey said that while it is recognised this proposal will impose a direct cost on the industry, the regulatory reforms will also deliver significant cost savings to industry estimated at $32 million a year.

“DMP will reallocate its own cost savings from more efficient approvals processes to increase its focus on compliance assurance and increase inspection activities.”

Dr Gorey said the changes will mean that DMP is well-placed to regulate the mining industry into the future. 

The department will continue to consult with stakeholders on the detail of the amendments before  a final recommendation is made to government.

The consultation paper is available on the department’s website and includes information on how to make a submission.


Environmental Offsets Guidelines

The WA Environmental Offsets Guidelines were released by the Minister for Environment, the Hon. Albert Jacob, on 14 August 2014.

The Guidelines complement the WA Environmental Offsets Policy 2011 and will ensure that decisions made on environmental offsets are consistently applied to bring certainty to developers and the community. The Guidelines apply to all biodiversity offsets required as a condition of Western Australian environmental approval processes.

A further document, Environmental Protection Bulletin No. 1 Environmental Offsets Revised August 2014 clarifies how the Environmental Protection Authority will consider offsets through the environmental impact assessment process.

These guidelines, together with the Environmental Offsets Register will provide transparency in the determination and application of offsets, while also providing a basis for auditing, compliance and enforcement.










Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) Update

The first year of the MRF has been a significant success with great support from tenement holders in Western Australia.
Approximately 22,000 tenements were required to provide a report through the online system by 30 June and less than 200 tenements remain with outstanding reporting requirements.

The data provided by tenement holders has resulted in the most comprehensive dataset of the mineral exploration and mining footprint of Mining Act tenure ever compiled in Western Australia.

The data provided by tenement holders will soon be available on the DMP website.

The MRF became compulsory from 1 July 2014 and all tenement holders who had not registered by the due date were contacted by the Department. The Department is required under the Act to issue infringement notices by 21 July each year.

General Manager Administration and Reform Dr Marnie Leybourne said the ideal scenario would be for everyone to submit their data by the due date.

“The MRF is an excellent thing for industry, so it is in industry’s interest to ensure its success. There are currently only a handful of tenement holders that could risk serious enforcement action by not participating, but we are following them up.”

Tenement holders have been provided 60 days to pay the levy in this first year and a large number of holders have already made their levy payments.

During the voluntary year, tenement holders contributed $6.7 million in voluntary payments and DMP was able to retire unconditional performance bonds to the value of $290 million.

In the first two months of the first full year of the MRF, holders have already made levy payments to the value of $12 million.

Approvals Performance Report

April – June 2014

The department's approval performance target is to finalise greater than 80 per cent of applications within the target timeline.

During the June quarter, the DMP finalised the majority of key approval processes within the target and statutory timelines.

The Department's electronic information systems recorded a total of 808 mineral tenure applications comprising 492 Exploration Licences, 250 Prospecting Licences, 42 Miscellaneous Licences, 15 Mining Leases, 2 Retention Licences and 7 General Purpose Leases. Ninety seven per cent of mineral exploration licence applications and prospecting licences were finalised within the timeline target of 65 business days.

DMP received 461 Programme of Work exploration applications and 64 mining proposals during the period. Ninety seven per cent of Programme of Work applications and 92 per cent of Mining Proposals were finalised within the timeline target of 30 business days.

Sixty seven native vegetation clearing permit applications were received during the quarter. Eighty seven per cent of these applications were finalised within the target timeline of 60 calendar days.

The Department received 15 mine safety Project Management Plans (PMP's) and seven Radiation Management Plans (RMP's) during the quarter. One hundred per cent of PMP's and RMP's were finalised within the target of 30 business days.

Petroleum safety approval performance data was introduced 1 January 2014 to this report. New safety case/safety management systems have a statutory timeline of 90 calendar days and revised safety case/safety management systems have a statutory timeline of 30 calendar days. During the quarter, 29 new and revised safety case, safety management system, diving safety and pipeline management plans were accepted by the Department. All petroleum safety submissions were accepted within the statutory timelines.

The Department received 15 Petroleum Exploration Permit, Exploration Permit renewal, Pipeline Licence, survey and well applications for the quarter. Petroleum tenure, well and survey performance measures were below target timelines and the Department is reviewing options in order to elevate performance. A total of 116 petroleum environment plans and oil spill contingency plans were received for planned petroleum activities in the State. Ninety six per cent of petroleum environmental applications were finalised within the target time.

DMP Approval Performance Summary 1 July 2013 – 30 June 2014

During the 2013/14 financial year, the department received 3327 mineral tenure applications and finalised over 90 per cent of applications within the target timeline. The department received 2181 mineral prospecting, exploration and development activity applications. These include 289 prospecting applications, 1646 mineral exploration applications and 244 mining proposals. Eighty eight per cent of mining proposals, 96 per cent of exploration applications and 98 per cent of prospecting applications were finalised within 30 business days.

Two hundred and eight petroleum applications, renewals, variations, dealings and other transactions were finalised by the Department during this period. Petroleum approval performance has generally been below target timelines throughout this period. A review of petroleum approval performance is in progress.

The Department received 77 Project Management Plans (PMP's) and Radiation Management Plans (RMP's) during the 2013/14 financial year. Ninety seven per cent of PMP's and 90 per cent of RMP's were finalised within target timelines during this period. The Department introduced petroleum safety approval performance measures from 1 January 2014. Since then, 29 petroleum safety applications were finalised. All applications were assessed within the statutory timelines.

Online lodgement

During this quarter, the percentage of mineral and petroleum tenure applications lodged online were as follows:


During this period, the percentage of mining and petroleum activity applications lodged online were as follows:


The Department is committed to progressively phasing out paper based applications by mid-2016.

(April – June 2014)

The table below provides information regarding the number of mining and petroleum applications received by the Department during the specified period. DMP timeline target, approval performance measures and number of applications carried over to the next quarter are provided for key approval processes. The timeline target applies to processes completed by DMP and does not include, for example, the time taken for assessment by other government agencies or where the assessment process is put on hold while additional information is being sought from applicants.