Director's foreword

Executive Director, Environment, Phil Gorey

Executive Director, Environment, Phil Gorey

It was terrific to see the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) described in the Fraser Institute's survey of mining companies as "exemplary policy" and Western Australia to be ranked number one in the world in the Investment Attractiveness Index. We are three-quarters of the way through the first voluntary year for the MRF and, companies are continuing to opt-in.

All tenement holders are required to register and lodge their disturbance data by 30 June this year. Environment Division staff are currently contacting tenement holders that have not yet registered.

Another major project for the division is transitioning towards a risk-based and outcomes-focussed application and assessment process. A discussion paper outlining our proposed legislative changes to enable this process is currently out for public comment and work on a new mining proposal format is progressing. Once implemented, we expect there will be significant savings for industry and more rapid turn-around times for assessments.

Nominations are currently open for this year's Golden Gecko awards and we are planning to make them even more prestigious this year, so it is an excellent time to consider nominating your outstanding examples of environmental management.


Dr Phil Gorey
Executive Director Environment

Golden Gecko awards 2014

The entry period for this year's 23rd Annual Golden Gecko Awards is now open. In 2013, ESS Support Services and AshOil received a Golden Gecko Award for Environmental Excellence. Franmarine Limited and Department of Fisheries were awarded a Certificate of Merit.

Golden Gecko awards 2014

Golden Gecko awards 2014

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 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



Timeframe for rehabilitation of exploration disturbances

Rehabilitated exploration pad

Rehabilitated Exploration Pad

DMP seeks to address any confusion for Industry between the ‘Programme of Work (PoW) timeframe’, which was recently extended to four years, and the ‘exploration rehabilitation timeframe’, which remains unchanged at six months.



All companies that wish to keep exploration areas un-rehabilitated for longer than six months must obtain written approval from an Environmental Officer within the six month period. Failure to rehabilitate within the required timeframe is likely to constitute a breach of tenement conditions (unless written approval for an extension has been obtained) and the tenement could therefore be subject to compliance action. DMP grants rehabilitation extensions on a case by case basis, and takes into consideration the justification for an extension, the environmental management proposed during the extended period, and environmental risk (including significance of the surrounding environment).  This information must be provided by companies when they apply for an extension.

Compliance reporting

Rehabilitated Exploration Track

Rehabilitated exploration track

DMP strongly encourages proponents to provide DMP with a rehabilitation completion report once rehabilitation works for a PoW has been completed. DMP is currently investigating methods of making reporting simple and easy for both industry and DMP. Given the move to a four year validity period for PoWs, compliance reporting will become more important to monitor exploration rehabilitation.

If you require further clarification on rehabilitation timeframes or how to request a rehabilitation extension, please contact your regional Environmental Officer or Team leader. Contact details can be found here.

Proposal for environmental reform - Mining Act 1978

In recent years, DMP has implemented legislative reforms for petroleum and geothermal activities to ensure that a contemporary and effective environmental regulatory framework is in place.  This includes the proclamation of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Environment) Regulations 2012, Petroleum Pipelines (Environment) Regulations 2012 and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Environment) Regulations 2012.

DMP is now proposing amendments to the Mining Act 1978 to similarly ensure that there is a contemporary environmental regulatory framework in place for mineral exploration and development activities. 

The proposed amendments will:

The proposed changes will provide certainty to the mining industry and reassure the broader community that the environment is being appropriately managed by Western Australia's resource sector.

DMP is seeking early input on the scope and intent of legislative amendments outlined in the discussion paper provided on the DMP website (see link below). Following this feedback, DMP will undertake further consultation on the specific detail of amendments prior to a final proposal being presented to the State Government for consideration.

Please see the website for more information and advice on making a submission.

System changes for online lodgement of Annual Environmental Reports (AER)

In December 2012, the Department of Mines and Petroleum's (DMP) Environment Division introduced the Environmental Assessment and Regulatory System 2 (EARS2) to support the online lodgement of Annual Environmental Reports (AER's). The EARS2 system has provided companies with the ability to track the review status of their AER submissions and also provides transparency for the community with respect to the progress of mining and rehabilitation activities on mining operations across the State.

Since its release, DMP has identified opportunities to further enhance the AER reporting component of the EARS2 system to better align AER reporting with industry expectations, improve the accuracy of the information being recorded and expand the functionality of the system. These changes have now been incorporated into the EARS2 system.

The key changes in the functionality of the system are detailed in a fact sheet which can also be accessed through the DMP website.

Should further clarification of the EARS2 system be required, please contact the Environment Division via email:

Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) update

Deadline approaching
All tenement holders need to register for the MRF and provide a disturbance report using the MRF Environmental Assessment and Regulatory System (EARS2) before June 30 2014.  Penalties for non-compliance will apply if tenement holders fail to report by the 30 June 2014 deadline.  Participation in the fund is compulsory from 1 July 2014 for all tenement holders and disturbance data must be lodged annually, even if you fall below the threshold and will have no levy to pay. 

The MRF website includes information such as frequently asked questions, a guidance document and step-by-step guide to assist tenement holders with reporting. This and a lot more information, including links to the Legislation are all available on the MRF homepage under the headings ‘Related Links’ and ‘Documents’ in the right hand window pane.

So far approximately one third of the State’s tenement holders have entered into the MRF during the voluntary year and DMP has retired Unconditional Performance Bonds (UPB’s) to the value of more than $280 million. Some $7 million has been voluntarily paid into the MRF.

‘Copy Forward’ information from AERs
Tenement holders who are required to provide an Annual Environmental Report (AER) online are now able to ‘copy forward’ their previously entered data when completing their MRF submission.  This will save the tenement holder a significant amount of time and also avoid duplication in reporting.

Regional visits set for 2014
The MRF Team is traveling to the following regional centres throughout the month of May to assist tenement holders in registering and lodging their submissions. 






Natural Resources Management Centre
Unit 3, Suite B, 113 Dempster Street

Wednesday 21 May 2014

9.30am – 3.30pm


Norseman Community Resource Centre
86 Prinsep Street

Thursday 22 May 2014

9.00am – 3.30pm


Department of Mines and Petroleum
Cnr Hunter & Broadwood Streets

Friday 23 May 2014
Saturday 24 May 2014

8.30am – 4.30pm
8.30am – 12.30pm


Department of Mines and Petroleum
Cnr Tower & Goldfields Hwy

Monday 26 May 2014

8.30am – 4.00pm


Shire of Sandstone
Hack Street

Tuesday 27 May 2014

12.00pm – 2.30pm

Mt Magnet

Department of Mines and Petroleum
Cnr Richardson & Hepburn Streets

Wednesday 28 May 2014

8.30am – 4.30pm

Yalgoo / Mullewa

Information on how to register for the MRF will be available from the Yalgoo and Mullewa Shires from Thursday 29 May 2014

The MRF Team previously met with tenement holders in Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie, Karratha, Southern Cross and Bunbury in 2013 when the voluntary period commenced. 

Review of the voluntary period
The MRF Fund was implemented on 1 July 2013 on a voluntary ‘opt in’ basis. This provided companies with an early opportunity to have their bonds retired where approved by DMP against specific criteria. This also allowed other companies more time to establish their administrative systems.  

The MRF Team is now reviewing the data provided by tenement holders during the voluntary year to check that the reporting requirements have been understood and that the disturbance reported is accurate.

MRF compliance inspections will be incorporated into the Environment Division’s annual audit and inspection program in the future. It will include both desktop and onsite reviews.

For all enquiries about the MRF please email or phone (08) 9222 3162.

Mine Closure Plan guideline review update

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), are undertaking a review and update of the Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans 2011. The aim of the review is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in mine closure planning and approval.

Mine Closure Plan guideline

Stakeholders were invited to provide feedback on the guidelines between November last year and January this year.  DMP received feedback from over 20 separate organisations including industry representatives and associations, government agencies and consultancies.  DMP wishes to thank the stakeholders who took the time to provide their feedback.

As a result of this feedback, the guidelines are being updated with a draft version anticipated to be completed by April 2014. Further stakeholder feedback will then be sought with the final version of the guidelines to be published in July 2014.

Furthermore, DMP will be presenting on the MCP review at the AMEC Mine Closure and Rehabilitation Conference in April and the Goldfields Environmental Management Group Conference in Kalgoorlie in May.
A copy of the current guidelines can be accessed here.

Approvals Performance Report

During the December quarter 2013, DMP continued to show improvement across the majority of key approvals.

The department's electronic information systems showed it received a total of 920 mineral tenure applications comprising 602 Exploration Licences, 213 Prospecting Licences, 44 Miscellaneous Licences, 50 Mining Leases, 10 General Purpose Leases and one Retention Licence. The department's Mineral Titles Division finalised 94 per cent of mineral exploration licence applications and 98 per cent of prospecting licences within the target of 65 business days.

DMP received 405 Programme of Work applications and 54 mining proposals, and 96 per cent of Programme of Work applications and 97 per cent of Mining Proposals were finalised within the target of 30 business days, a significant improvement from the previous quarter (64 per cent).

Approvals Performance Report

Forty-six Native Vegetation clearing permit applications were received by the Environment Division during this quarter. Eighty-six per cent of these applications were finalised within the target timeline of 60 calendar days. This improvement to the previous quarterly performance (75 per cent) is the result of the full implementation of a more risk based approach to the assessment process.

The department received 21 mine safety Project Management Plans (PMP's) and four Radiation Management Plans (RMPs) during the December quarter. One hundred per cent per cent of PMPs and RMPs were finalised within the target of 30 business days.

The department received 53 Petroleum and Geothermal Title Grant/Renewal and Operational applications for the quarter. Petroleum performance was below target with none of the five exploration permit applications finalised within the target time frame. However, the backlog of survey applications was significantly reduced over the Christmas period with 34 out of 57 new and pending applications being finalised, 56 per cent of petroleum survey applications were finalised within 40 working days and 100 per cent of petroleum well applications were finalised within the agreed timeframes for the same period. A total of 112 petroleum environment plans and oil spill contingency plans were received for planned petroleum activities in the State, 95 per cent of petroleum environmental plans and 100 per cent of oil spill contingency plans were finalised within the target of 30 business days.

2013 Performance
The overall performance for the year was positive. A restructure in the Petroleum and Environment Divisions and the continued Reforming Environmental Regulation programme will yield further positive results for industry in 2014.

The department's electronic information system showed that for the whole calendar year for 2013, DMP finalised 2361 Exploration Licences, 93 per cent within the agreed timeframes. In addition, 211 of the pre 2009 Exploration Licence applications were finalised. There were 1446 Prospecting Licences were finalised, 96 per cent within the agreed timeframe. Additionally there were 81 of the pre 2009 Prospecting applications finalised. Eighty-five per cent of the 87 Mining Leases and 216 of the pre 2009 Mining Lease applications were finalised within the agreed timeframe.

The department finalised 284 Mining Proposals and 2158 Programmes of Work during 2013. Seventy-four per cent of Mining Proposals and 86 per cent of Programmes of Work were finalised within the agreed timeframe. Note - the number of POWs finalised in 2012 was 2653.

DMP received 70 Project Management Plans, with 66 being finalised during the year and 94 per cent being finalised within the agreed timeframe.

DMP received 43 Exploration Permit applications with 53 per cent finalised within the agreed timeframe; the number is down from 2012 when DMP received 53 Exploration Permit applications. Petroleum Environment finalised 321 applications, 97 per cent within the agreed timeframe.

DMP made some significant process changes during 2013 to a more outcome based approach that required a change in focus and expansion of electronic systems. Nevertheless, despite some issues with performance during the year, which have been addressed, the majority of applications met the target of 80 per cent finalised within the agreed timeframe.

DMP approvals performance – fourth quarter 2013
The below table 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.

Approvals Performance Report