Director's foreword

Phil Gorey (Executive Director, Environment, Phil Gorey)

Executive Director, Environment, Phil Gorey

Welcome to the first Department of Mines and Petroleum Environment e-newsletter for 2013.

This year promises to be one of great change, building on work that was undertaken through the Ministerial Advisory Panel (MAP) on Environmental Reform during 2012.

The Environment Division has been restructured to ensure we can focus on better service delivery and achieving environmental reform. New staff have joined the division, bringing a wealth of national and international experience with them.

As part of our goal to improve service delivery and increase transparency in our assessment and approval processes, the Environment Division is continuing its move to online systems. Annual Environmental Reports are now publicly available online and from 1 July this year, all Annual Environmental Reports will need to be lodged online.

Also on 1 July, the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) will be implemented on a voluntary basis for its first year. DMP is currently working to finalise the draft regulations for the Fund. It is exciting to be implementing something as important as the MRF and the huge benefits for industry, the community and government it will bring. It is particularly pleasing to see the support it has received across all sectors.

The Environment Division is also improving its processes for audits and inspections as well as developing a spatially-enabled means to undertake automatic initial assessments of Programme of Work (POW) applications. Once implemented, we expect assessment times for POWs to significantly decline.

Later in the year the division will review mining proposal and mine closure plan processes. As recommended by MAP our environmental assessment processes are moving towards a risk-based and outcomes-focussed approach that we expect will deliver improved environmental outcomes as well as improve the application process for the mining industry.


Minister Marmion welcomed as the new Mines and Petroleum Minister

Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Marmion

Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Marmion

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has welcomed Bill Marmion as the new Mines and Petroleum Minister for Western Australia. DMP Director General Richard Sellers said he believed the former WA Environment and Water Minister was a fitting appointment for the important role – vacated by retiring industry stalwart Norman Moore.

Mr Sellers said that he is honoured to welcome Bill Marmion to his new portfolio and looks forward to working closely with him during his tenure.
"The department certainly has a large swathe of achievements set for the coming year," he said.
"We also share a great deal of responsibility – regulating a 'strong-growth' sector for the benefit of all Western Australians."











Annual Environmental Reports lodgement fully online from July 1

December 2012 saw the introduction of online lodgement of Annual Environmental Reports (AERs). Subsequently, many companies have registered and been trained to use the program and already 34 AERs have been lodged online. As of July 1 2013, online lodgement will be mandatory for all tenement holders who are required to submit an AER. If an AER is submitted in hard copy format after this date it will be automatically rejected.

DMP has been contacting companies with instructions and informing them how to set up their accounts for online lodgement. DMP is also offering training to ensure the transition from hard copy submission to electronic is as smooth as possible.

AERs are submitted through the Environmental Assessment and Regulatory System (EARS) 2: a new online system allowing lodgment and tracking of Mineral Environmental Compliance Reporting. The online lodgement of AERs is part of DMP's commitment to improving consistency in data collection, and boosting efficiency and transparency for the department, industry and public.

Contact: Amy Jones (08) 9222 3043









Introducing the Mining Rehabilitation Fund

Introducing the Mining Rehabilitation Fund

The Mining Rehabilitation Fund is a new fund contributed to by Western Australian mining operators. Legislation to establish the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) passed Parliament 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. The fund does not remove the obligation that tenement holders have to rehabilitate sites; this will be monitored and enforced; unconditional performance bonds will still be able to be applied.

Money and interest earned on Fund contributions will be able to be spent on the rehabilitation of legacy sites across Western Australia. MRF funds must be spent in accordance with the purpose stated in the MRF legislation. The MRF account balance and levy percentage will be monitored on an ongoing basis, to ensure that the Fund is prudentially managed to meet current and emerging rehabilitation liabilities, as well as administrative costs. A panel comprising representatives from industry and the community will oversee administration of the fund.

The MRF will:

This model was chosen following extensive consultation with industry, government, conservation and community stakeholders.

For more information please refer to the MRF webpage.

Mining Rehabilitation Fund – Voluntary from 1st July

Industry briefings were held in March regarding the Mining Rehabilitation Fund. (MRF) Industry workshops will continue throughout the year to inform companies about how the changes will affect them.

In late April, DMP wrote to all tenement holders informing them that they can go online and register an email address in preparation for the levy contribution process. All MRF correspondence will occur exclusively online; prompt responses from all organisations will ensure that communication relating to the MRF is consistent and up to date.

From 1 July, mining companies will be able to voluntarily begin the submission process required to contribute to the MRF. This will occur entirely online: assessment notices will be sent electronically and payment will be exclusively online. Levy invoices are projected to start going out by October 2013. Implementation of compulsory levy contributions is planned to occur from 1 July 2014.

Mining Rehabilitation Fund – Bond policy

Mining Rehabilitation Fund – Bond Policy

A major benefit of the new Mining Rehabilitation Fund will be the substantial removal of the previously employed bond system. The prior bond model has a number of disadvantages, including tying up significant funds for operators during the initial exploration stages and restricting the use of the bond money to the particular mine for which the security is held.

The implementation of the Mining Rehabilitation Levy will ultimately lead to the return of the majority of previously collected bonds to tenement holders. The specific mechanisms for bond return after the introduction of the levy are now being finalised. Further details will become available as the bond return policy is formalised.

As the MRF legislation does not make any changes to the Mining Act 1978, unconditional performance bonds (securities) may still be applied to any Mining Act tenements in accordance with that Act. However, there is currently a moratorium on further bond rate increases. Also, bonds that apply to sites placed under "care and maintenance" will not be returned as it has been determined that there are ongoing environmental obligations to be met at these locations that will require the bond to remain in place.

Subject to implementation of the MRF, the Unconditional Performance Bond Policy will be reviewed, to cover how bonds will be applied during and after the transition to the MRF. This will include consultation through the soon to be established MRF Advisory Panel.

For more information please refer to the MRF Q & A.

New organisational structure for Environment Division

As part of the reform program for the Environment Division in DMP, an organisational structure review was completed in early 2013. This restructure was undertaken to ensure that the internal structure was aligned to the reform agenda of the department. Particularly, the new structure will deliver greater efficiencies by bringing together similar operational areas and improve service coordination and accountabilities. As part of the structural change, many of the divisional staff have been successful in obtaining new and challenging senior roles, and we have also welcomed some new faces to the division The organisational chart below provides a summary of the management positions in the new structure division, and details of contacts of those senior officers can also be found on the departments website.

Environment Org Chart

Senior management positions in new Environment Division structure

As can be seen on the chart, some positions remain vacant, and DMP is continuing to recruit into these positions.

Mineral Field Inspectorate Map Updated

Introducing the Mining Rehabilitation Fund

Following the implementation of the new organisational structure, a newly updated Mineral Field Inspectorate Allocation Map has been made available to assist in finding the specific officer dedicated to any requested area.

This map has recently been improved and can be accessed on the DMP website.

It is recommended that this map is regularly checked for updates to ensure that the contact person for your area has not changed.

Contact: Jodie Miller – (08) 9222 3071


Ministerial Advisory Panel on Reforming Environmental Regulation

In 2012, the Minister for Mines and Petroleum established a Ministerial Advisory Panel (MAP) to provide recommendations—through the Director General of the Department of Mines and Petroleum—outlining how to improve environmental regulation processes. In December 2012, MAP delivered a report through the Reform Group project team proposing four key goals:

Fourteen recommendations were made to achieve these goals and improve the regulation of environmental approvals and compliance in the resources sector in Western Australia. These recommendations included the development of a simple yet robust regulatory approach that is efficient, consistent and transparent. This will allow for outcomes, performance and risk-based regulation that is cognisant of national environmental legislation reforms and will deliver community confidence in DMP's environmental approvals process.

The report also suggested the implementation of specific procedural, policy and legislative reforms and the development of guidance material to support these changes.

The recommendations made by the Ministerial Advisory Panel are a part of, and will influence, DMP's ongoing commitment to Reforming Environmental Regulation. DMP is now establishing an RER Advisory Panel of external stakeholders to provide advice to the department on the development of the frameworks and strategies which will deliver MAP's recommendations.

For more information please refer to the RER Webpage.

Contact: Simon Skevington (08) 9222 3632





Golden Gecko Awards for 2013

Golden Gecko Awards for 2013

Golden Gecko Awards for 2013

The entry period for this year's 22nd Annual Golden Gecko Awards has now closed. There are seven entries that will be assessed to determine their eligibility. Project locations include Perth Basin, Mid West, Forrestania, the Pilbara, Kimberley, and the South West.

The prestigious Golden Gecko Awards recognise innovation in environmental leadership and performance in the Western Australian resources and services sector.

The awards offer an opportunity for industry to be recognised for leading practice and innovation in environmental management, and also allow companies to share their experiences with government, industry and the community.

Participation in the Golden Gecko Awards process has been known to internally increase awareness and interest in environmental work across an organisation.

A ceremony will be held later in the year to present the awards.

Contact: Richard Smetana (08) 9222 3639










Approvals performance

The Approvals Performance Report for the Fourth Quarter of 2012 has been published and is available on the DMP website. The report covers the period from October to December 2012 and includes the total number of applications received, approvals issued and the percentage of approvals processed within target timeframes. It also indicates the number of applications carried over to the first quarter of 2013.

The report shows an improvement in Clearing Permits processed within the target time frame from 44 per cent in the second quarter to 61 per cent in the fourth quarter. This success can be attributed to the recently implemented reforms to business processes in regard to management of native vegetation.

The following performance targets were reached with respect to environmental approvals in the fourth quarter:

2012 saw the expansion of DMP's online lodgement services to include petroleum environment applications. During this period, 28 per cent of petroleum environmental applications were lodged online. Online lodgement provides more certainty and reduces approval timelines for proponents and reduces administrative handling and costs for government.

For more information please refer to the Full Report.

Contact: Kaye Mulligan (08) 9222 3094








DMP website updated

In April of 2013 the environment section of the Department of Mines and Petroleum's website was updated. A complete redesign was carried out to display environmental content more clearly and accessibly. The new website layout improves usability and access for industry clients and the public.

The website changes also better reflect the recent improvements made to the Environment Division's divisional structure.

For more information please refer to the environment webpage.

















Draft exploration guidelines

Draft Exploration Guidelines

In March 2013 DMP held an industry information session about new draft exploration guidelines for Environmentally Responsible Mineral Exploration and Prospecting in Western Australia.

The workshop was useful in allowing further discussion on the various issues of stakeholders regarding the earlier draft of the guidelines. DMP is currently working through the remaining feedback submissions from stakeholders resulting from this information session prior to making any decision on the finalisation of the guidelines.

Contact: Justin Robins (08) 9222 3090.




Nominations open for World Environment Day Awards

The World Environment Day Awards recognizes innovative and outstanding environmental initiatives and projects from across Australia. The United Nations Association of Australia presents these awards each year as part of United Nations World Environment Day (5 June) celebrations. The annual awards are one of the association's most successful and highly regarded programs.

The awards invite nominations from individuals, organisations and businesses that have taken positive steps towards sustainability and demonstrated environmental excellence in their homes, schools, communities and workplaces.

Winners will be announced at a presentation dinner on Friday 7 June at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. Attended by more than 400 guests, including government Ministers and environment leaders, this special event showcases the cutting edge programs and initiatives of the year's award recipients and provides a valuable networking opportunity.

For more information please visit the United Nations Association of Australia website.