Director's Foreword

Phil Gorey (Executive Director, Environment)

As we enter the last quarter of 2012 there are a number of positive environmental achievements to reflect upon, yet much work remains to be done.

In this edition we congratulate Pendoley Environmental for winning a Golden Gecko Award at the 21st annual event. The environmental excellence shown by this local company is exemplary and should inspire others to innovate and set new standards.

Progress on the Mining Rehabilitation Fund and Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) Program also features in this eNews. There is information about the new petroleum environment regulations, and we finish with a timely reminder to all resource companies to remain vigilant in ensuring compliance with statutory obligations.

I hope you enjoy reading this 3rd edition of DMP's Environment eNews. Please don't hesitate to contact our helpful staff or visit the department's website for further information.

Pendoley Environmental wins prestigious Golden Gecko Award

At a special awards ceremony held on Thursday 20th September, Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore presented the 2012 Golden Gecko Award for Environmental Excellence to WA-based company Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd.

“Over the last decade, this small team of dedicated individuals have significantly increased the scientific knowledge of WA’s sea turtle population,” Minister Moore said.

“Through their work, a broad range of marine turtle research and monitoring tools, and monitoring programmes, have been developed to support the State’s rapidly growing resources sector. This provides environmental practitioners, regulatory authorities and developers with innovative and practical solutions which protect and conserve these iconic species.”

A Certificate of Merit was also awarded to Argyle Diamonds Limited for its work in rehabilitating a contaminated site.

Entries for the 2013 Golden Gecko Awards will open early next year.

Contact: Richard Smetana (08) 9222 3639

DMP on track to introduce new mining securities system

Legislation to establish the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) passed through the Legislative Assembly and was introduced into the Legislative Council on 26 September 2012.

The MRF will require operators to make annual contributions based on a percentage of their total closure liabilities, which will go into a pooled Government-administered fund.  This arrangement will mean that only high risk sites will be required to maintain bonds in the future.

The Mining Rehabilitation Fund Bill 2012, explanatory memoranda and a log of the progress of the Bill is available on the Parliament's website at  You may also register for email notification of the progress of the Bill at this site.

Consultation with industry and other stakeholders regarding the calculation of fund contributions and transitional arrangements is ongoing and on-track to enable the finalisation of regulations prior to implementation of the MRF next year.

Contact: Simon Skevington (08) 9222 3632

Reform program fosters collaboration

Government, industry and community stakeholders continue to collaborate as part of the Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program being led by DMP. The objective of the RER program is to implement the principles of best practice regulation of the resources sector to ensure environmental integrity is maintained.

The RER program will consolidate and compliment a range of policy, process, systems and legislative reforms that are already being implemented across DMP's environmental regulatory role.

Four stakeholder working groups (Compliance, Approvals, Governance and Petroleum) were established in July 2012 to perform detailed work on the reforms, and provide advice, tools and strategies to the Ministerial Advisory Panel (MAP). All working groups have held several meetings to date and are on track to deliver reform recommendations to MAP by the end of October 2012. Thereafter, MAP will make its final recommendations to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum in November 2012. DMP will be responsible for full implementation of the reforms announced by the Minister.

Terms of reference, meeting agendas and minutes of the four working groups and MAP are available on DMP's website.

Contact: Damien Montague (08) 9222 3151

Recruitment campaign underway

As part of the Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program, DMP has commenced a recruitment campaign to attract additional senior staff to its Environment Division. The first round of positions were publicly advertised on 8 September and included the new role of Director Operations as well as a number of General Manager roles. Several challenging and exciting team leader and senior environmental officer positions will be advertised in the coming weeks.

DMP will also introduce new competency requirements, and training and development programs to ensure it has the necessary people, skills, knowledge and capacity to achieve leading practice environmental regulation of Western Australia's resources industry.

For more information about current and upcoming employment opportunities please visit

Contact: Phil Gorey (08) 9222 3290

New regulations and guidelines released

On 28 August 2012, state petroleum environment regulations were gazetted in Western Australia (WA). DMP will now regulate (in addition to the existing petroleum Acts) all petroleum and geothermal activities in WA under the following environmental legislation:

These regulations can be accessed via the State Law Publisher website.

Note that the new regulations refer to Environmental Management Plans as Environment Plans (the title of Environmental Management Plan has become obsolete).

To support the regulations, DMP have developed Guidelines for the Preparation and Submission of an Environment Plan (2012)  which aim to assist in the development and submission of an Environment Plan to DMP for petroleum and geothermal activities.

Furthermore, an information sheet has been released by DMP to provide operators with an overview of the disclosure requirements for products, additives, chemicals and other substances that may be used when undertaking drilling, hydraulic fracturing or other ‘down-well’ petroleum related activities.

It should be noted that as of 3 September 2012, delegation of all powers and functions under the abovementioned regulations lies with the Executive Director, Environment, DMP.

Contact: Kim Anderson (08) 9222 3142

Non-compliance costs over $100,000

During 2012 fines totalling over $100,000 have already been issued to mineral tenement holders for failing to comply with environmental conditions. 

Back in 2010, the department revised its enforcement and compliance processes so that it could respond promptly, and proportionately, to examples of non-compliance of tenement environmental conditions.

Clearing ground and vegetation outside of approved operating areas is the most frequent breach of tenement conditions. In most cases this is indicative of poor approval management systems and not providing clear communication of the approved plan to staff and contractors.

Tenement holders are reminded they are responsible for all works undertaken on their tenement, including by contractors, and they are liable for any non-compliance.

Any subsequent changes or expansion to the planned ground disturbance footprint requires assessment and approval by DMP, and affords the opportunity for a robust assessment of the environmental risks. Failure to do so is a breach of tenement conditions.

Tenement holders may incur a fine and be required to rehabilitate the disturbed area.

Power exists under the Mining Act 1978 to impose a fine in lieu of forfeiture of up to $50,000 on the tenement holder for a breach of tenement conditions.

Contact: Kate Buckley (08) 9222 3529