Director’s foreword

Welcome Phil Goreyagain to another edition of the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s (DMP’s) Environment eNewsletter.

The final quarter of this year has been filled with activity. 

The end of the year is always a transitional time and this year is no exception as the Reforming Environmental Regulation process draws to a close, bringing us into a new phase of implementing the reforms that have been achieved. 

This newsletter contains details of many of DMP’s planned implementation projects, including the introduction of low-impact authorised activities, risk and outcomes-based guidelines, and environmental management systems. We are continuing to work with stakeholders  to make sure these projects are successful and derive maximum benefit for industry and the environment.

I’m also thrilled to announce some major public successes both for industry and for DMP. 

The annual Golden Gecko Awards for Environmental Excellence were celebrated in October, with Chevron Australia taking the top prize for its Wheatstone Micro-tunnel Project.  As ever, the award finalists were of an incredibly high standard and showed enormous innovation and commitment to excellent environmental outcomes across all facets of industry.  After nearly 25 years we feel that industry has really adopted the award as its own.  Leading on from that success, last month DMP introduced the Community Partnership Award.  This accolade will publicly recognise outstanding achievements in building community partnerships within the resources sector.  I encourage you to consider resource projects that may be eligible for entry in this exciting new process.

In October DMP was recognised for its contribution to the economic development of the State, becoming the joint winner, with the Pilbara Ports Authority, of a 2015 Premier’s Award. This award is a testament to the effort and dedication that the Mining Rehabilitation Fund team has put in combined with the support received from our industry partners.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy and safe holiday period and thank you for all your support during the past year.


Dr Phil Gorey

Executive Director Environment



2015 Golden Gecko Awards recognises innovative
Micro-tunnel project

The prestigious Golden Gecko Logo Golden Gecko Awards for Environmental Excellence were celebrated last month with Chevron Australia taking the top prize for their Wheatstone Micro-tunnel Project.  Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Marmion presented the Golden Gecko Award at a ceremony attended by industry and government representatives.

The Golden Gecko is awarded for commitment to environmental excellence, demonstrated excellent environmental outcomes, community engagement and innovation.  Chevron demonstrated all aspects of these criteria taking home this year’s Award for their Wheatstone Micro-tunnel project.

The Wheatstone Micro-tunnel links a 225km long offshore gas pipeline to the onshore processing facilities, protecting the coastal area adjacent to the Ashburton River Delta.  This is the first time Chevron has successfully used micro-tunnel technology in the oil and gas industry and is the longest pipe-jacked tunnel in the southern hemisphere.

Chevron’s commitment to environmental excellence was apparent from the level of assessment and engagement undertaken during the project’s development.  Chevron investigated five options for a shore crossing and chose the one with the lowest environmental impact even though it was the most expensive choice. 

Other commendable environmental initiatives included using biodegradable hydraulic oils, not using chemicals for the last 50 metres of tunnelling, re-using all tunnel spoil, recycling almost all recyclable waste, and formally recognising individuals who championed the environmental awareness of the project through an award program initiative.

MonitoringGolden Gecko winners undertaken on the Ashburton River Delta has  demonstrated excellent environmental outcomes with no ground disturbance and an increase in the number of mature mangrove trees adjacent to the tunnel corridor.

Certificates of Merit were also awarded to Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee and St Barbara Limited.

Battling the Thorny Menaces through Corporate Alliances saw Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee spearhead a resources company alliance to manage weed control across the Pilbara.

St Barbara’s Gwalia Operations Absorption Chiller Upgrade more than doubled the cooling capacity of the Gwalia underground mine by converting waste heat energy from the power plant to cool air.

Anyone interested in submitting a project for the 2016 Golden Gecko Awards should visit for details or contact:

Jessica Allen
(08) 9222 3102

Community Partnership Award

A newCommunity Partnership initiative aimed at recognising resource companies and communities that work together to build constructive partnerships was launched by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) last month.

The Community Partnership Award publicly recognises outstanding achievements and leadership in building constructive community partnerships that provide positive outcomes and promote strong guiding behaviour within the resources sector.

Any major development can bring change to a community. This can include an increase in population and the associated demand on local services such as education, housing and health services. Change can also bring new social capacities and skills, infrastructure and business development, as well as the investment of resources into social programs.

The Community Partnership Award helps build the reputation of the Western Australian resources and extractive industry organisations that are working closely with communities or community groups to understand local concerns and issues, provide positive outcomes, and leave a positive legacy that extends well beyond gaining a social licence to operate.

The Minister for Mines and Petroleum will present the Community Partnership Award to the resources company and the community organisation involved in the winning project. Certificates of Merit may also be awarded to nominees making determined efforts towards achieving excellence and leadership in community partnerships.

The names of all award and certificate recipients will be recorded on a perpetual sculpture displayed in DMP’s head office in Perth.

Any company or individual can nominate a project that operates within Western Australia’s minerals, energy resources or extractive industries.

Nominations for the awards open on 1 February 2016 and close on 8 April 2016. 

For more information please visit the Community Partnership Award webpage, email or contact the Community Partnership Project Manager, Donna Vicensoni on 9222 3373.

New Guide to Regulation of the Shale and Tight Gas Industry

Western New Guide to Regulation of the Shale and Tight Gas Industry Australia’s whole-of-government regulatory framework for shale and tight gas industry has been outlined in a new document.

The release of the ‘Guide to the Regulatory Framework for Shale and Tight Gas in Western Australia’ was announced by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Marmion in October.

It has been signed by the Director General of eight regulatory agencies across the public sector including the Department of Water, Department of Environment Regulation, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Health and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority.

Western Australia has extensive shale and tight gas resources. This represents a significant economic opportunity for the State as well as huge potential benefits to regional communities. While economic and social benefits exist in the development of this industry, the government will ensure that it is not at the expense of the environment, human health or community amenity.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has undertaken a considerable amount of public consultation over the past two years and has recognised that there is a significant amount of public interest in the shale and tight gas sector.

The new guide describes the comprehensive suite of regulations, policies, guidelines and best practice requirements that are in place across Government.  It  is also aimed at reassuring communities and landholders that the petroleum industry is being properly regulated and that appropriate checks and balances are in place.

The recent Parliamentary Inquiry on “Implications for Western Australia of Hydraulic Fracturing for Unconventional Gas (November 2015)” also made reference to DMP strengthening its regulatory framework for onshore gas exploration and that there is a high level of confidence in the State’s regulators.

Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) update

Planned industry consultation for 1st Quarter 2016

Consultation over mining proposal reform and the proposed introduction of a Low Impact Authorised Activities Framework for prospecting and exploration activities will take place next year.

Over the coming months the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) will consult with industry on the following:

The consultation process will ensure that these policies are consistent with the risk and outcomes based regulation and that there is adequate guidance, including codes of practices, standards, risk assessment and environmental management systems to assist industry in meeting DMP’s Environmental Regulatory Strategy.

Guide to be developed for engineered landforms

A new guideline to ensure that significant engineered landforms are appropriately designed, constructed and closed will be jointly developed by DMP’s Resources Safety and Environment Divisions, in consultation with industry. 

These guidelines will ensure that engineered landforms remain safe for the long term, as well as geotechnically stable and geochemically non-polluting and are rehabilitated to an agreed condition.

The guideline for engineered landforms will address aspects to be covered in Mining Proposals and Mine Closure Plans for structures such as:

•             large waste dumps
•             infrastructure/features located within the zone of potential pit instability
•             permanent creek/river diversions, flood/surface water diversion levees, sea walls
•             underground stoping near surface potential for future subsidence
•             water storage dams/evaporation ponds
•             heap leach/vat leaching facilities.

Environment Division Liaison Committee (EDLC)

DMP reached a significant milestone at September’s Reforming Environmental Regulation Advisory Panel (RERAP) meeting. On the day, DMP presented its status report which identified that the Ministerial Advisory Panel (MAP) recommendations had been substantially completed. RERAP concluded that the Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) initiative had also been completed and is moving into an implementation phase.

Despite this achievement it remains important that stakeholders continue to assist us with regulatory enhancement strategies going forward. To facilitate this DMP is establishing the Environment Division Liaison Committee (EDLC) which will replace RERAP. The inaugural EDLC meeting is scheduled to take place in March 2016.

Environmental Management Systems

Holders of mining leases and miscellaneous licences in the future will need to have an Environmental Management System (EMS) in order to help support the effective management of the environment. An EMS provides a structured approach to planning and implementing environmental protection measures and may include environmental policies, processes, reviews, field procedures and other documents.

A mining proposal will become an important component of an operation's EMS by assessing the potential environmental impact of a mining activity and proposing ways to avoid or minimise those impacts.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) considers the proposed requirement for operators to have a suitable EMS as an important step in the move towards a risk-based and outcome-focussed regulatory system.

Will I need an EMS for my mining operation?

Yes. The Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (the Bill),which was passed through the lower house of Parliament in September 2015, contains provisions that will require mining lease and miscellaneous licence holders to develop and maintain a suitable EMS.

The Mining Act 1978 (the Act) requires mining proposals to be in the format stipulated by the mining proposal guidelines.

A draft version of the mining proposal guidelines, which will require tenement holders to describe the project’s EMS, can be found on our website.

What needs to be included in the EMS?

An EMS will need to be tailored to the nature and scale of the individual mining project. Large and high risk projects are likely to require a complex EMS. Small projects with minimal environmental risks will only require a simple EMS.

The EMS should be a system of practices and procedures that identify and assess the risk of environmental harm that could occur as a result of carrying out mining operations, as well as the measures that have been put in place to avoid or minimise the risk of environmental harm occurring.

New EMS guidance material will be developed by DMP and will include tailored guidance or templates for small operations. An EMS that goes beyond the requirements set out within the guidance material will be satisfactory provided it contains, at a minimum, the matters dealt with in the DMP guidance material.

The ISO 14001 EMS Standard provides useful guidance on developing and maintaining an EMS. Although DMP will not require an EMS to be ISO-certified, for those operations that maintain an ISO-certified EMS only limited information will need to be provided within the mining proposal, as this demonstrates a level of commitment above and beyond a company's regulatory requirements.

Why is the requirement for an EMS being introduced?

As part of the Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program implemented in 2012, DMP's Environment Division is moving to a risk-based and outcomes-focussed regulatory approach. A key component of the RER is to revise the Act and the Mining Regulations 1981 to implement the principles of leading-practice environmental regulation for the mining industry. Under a risk-based regulatory model, the efforts and resources of the regulator are proportionally targeted towards areas which are identified as having a higher risk to the environment.

The intention is to focus tenement holder resources on achieving outcomes rather than complying with prescriptive requirements, as well as encouraging behavioural change and innovation in environmental management strategies. Regulatory effort will then focus on verifying that tenement holders are achieving environmental outcomes. The requirement for an EMS aligns with this objective to reduce the current regulatory burden on the mining industry.

Tenement holders in the future will be required to conduct their own risk assessments and implement their own management measures. This shift in responsibilities from the regulator to industry means that DMP's role to ensure compliance with the Act will shift from focusing on assessing approvals to assessing industry performance.

How is appropriate environmental management currently assessed?

Before a mining operation can commence, a mining proposal must be submitted to and approved by DMP. A mining proposal must contain detailed information on identification, evaluation and management of significant environmental impacts relevant to the proposed mining operations and the surrounding environment. Once the mining proposal is approved a condition will be applied to the tenement(s) that requires the activity to be carried out in accordance with the approved mining proposal.

If a tenement holder wants to make a change to a mining operation, they are required to submit another mining proposal for approval. This can mean that numerous mining proposals are submitted over the life of a mine, in some cases, creating contradictory commitments as environmental standards change over time. This makes the assessment of the mining proposal and subsequent inspections difficult.

What will be different once the requirement for an EMS is introduced?

Holders of mining leases and miscellaneous licences will be required to have an appropriate EMS to ensure relevant environmental risks have been identified and appropriately managed. Tenement holders will be required to describe their EMS within their mining proposal in accordance with the proposed EMS guidance material.

When will this happen?

Since early 2015, DMP has been working with an Industry Reference Group to revise the mining proposal guidelines, including the requirement for an EMS.

To assist tenement holders in developing and maintaining their EMS, DMP will produce guidance documents in consultation with stakeholders. A draft EMS guideline is expected to be made available for stakeholder comment during 2016.

It is recognised that it will take time for tenement holders to develop their EMS. Following the commencement of the Bill, tenement holders will have two years to develop and implement a suitable EMS. DMP will provide support to anyone needing advice on this matter.

Proposed Inspector Powers

The Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program has been underway at the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) since 2012. A key component of the RER is to revise the Mining Act 1978 (the Act) and the Mining Regulations 1981 to implement the principles of leading-practice environmental regulation for the mining industry.

The Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (the Bill) includes provisions to revise the powers of mining inspectors to be comparable with inspectors under other Acts. Before any changes can occur, this Bill needs to be passed by both the upper and lower houses of Parliament, and regulations will need to be made specifying new powers for inspectors.

The Bill was passed through the lower house of Parliament on 24 September 2015 and is expected to be debated in the upper house in early 2016.

Is there a need for additional inspector powers?

With DMP’s RER regulatory reform, there is a shift toward risk-based regulation. Proponents in future will be required to conduct their own risk assessments and implement their own environmental management systems/measures (EMS). This shift in responsibilities from the regulator to industry means that DMP’s role to ensure compliance with the Act requires adequate powers for its inspectors to view the EMS and its procedures while conducting routine site inspections.

The new powers will provide a safeguard to prevent and contain emergencies that could pose a risk to human health or the environment. When investigating an environmental incident or breach of tenement conditions on a mine site, inspectors will have the ability to request relevant documents, take samples and interview people.

DMP also receives many complaints regarding illegal mining (this includes miners encroaching on other tenements). Currently, DMP’s Environmental Inspectors and Compliance Investigators are limited in what they are authorised to do to gather evidence which can make it difficult to determine whether unauthorised mining activities have occurred and protect the tenement and rights of the tenement holder, or the environment.

Under this proposal, Environmental Inspectors and Compliance Investigators will have a broader range of powers which are comparable with the powers of inspectors appointed under other legislation, for example the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994, Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004 and the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

What are the proposed new powers?

The proposed powers will expand existing inspectors’ powers to enable inspectors to conduct investigations more effectively and would allow an inspector:

The proposed introduction of a requirement for mining lease and miscellaneous licence holders to have an EMS will require adequate powers for inspectors to give directions to the holder of such a tenement;

Are these powers reasonable?

The proposed powers are not new to the mining industry. They are largely reflecting the powers of inspectors from the Mine Safety and Inspection Act 1994 and Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004.

The proposed powers are similar to those of Environmental Inspectors at the Department of Environment Regulation (DER). The following table compares the existing powers of inspectors appointed under the Mining Act 1978 with inspectors under other Western Australian legislation.

 Proposed Inspector Powers

Will stakeholders be consulted on the changes to inspectors’ powers?

It is DMP’s normal practice to engage with stakeholders on any proposed changes to the way in which DMP does business. This includes industry, other government agencies and the community.

Once the Bill passes through parliament DMP will invite interested parties and relevant stakeholders to be involved in drafting and developing the subsequent regulations.

Please check DMP’s website, for more information and for opportunities to submit comments and keep up to date with the latest developments concerning the mining legislation amendments.

When would these changes take effect?

There are two stages of legislation that need to happen before inspector powers can be increased. Firstly, the Bill needs to be passed by Parliament. Secondly, DMP will develop draft regulations detailing the form of additional inspectors’ powers while consulting with key stakeholders and industry groups.

Once all key issues have been thoroughly considered and drafting has been finalised the new regulations would be made. DMP estimates that the inspector powers regulations will be introduced in 2016.

How will people’s rights be protected?

DMP is committed to ensuring the regulations will include a protection against self-incrimination for individuals answering questions or being interviewed by environmental inspectors appointed under the Mining Act 1978.

DMP attends APLA Conference

Since DMP attends APLA Conference2013 the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has increased its participation at the Amalgamated Prospectors and Leaseholders Association of Western Australia (APLA) Conference. This year Director Operations Dr Marnie Leybourne, General Manager Minerals South Dan Machin and DMP Environmental Officers, Lawson Brandis and Luke Lovell accepted APLA's invitation to participate in its State conference at Ora Banda on Sunday 20 September 2015.

Dr Leybourne and Mr Machin presented on the following topics:

DMP attends APLA ConferenceThe presentation topics gave rise to some great open discussion from simple solutions for bunding fuel containers; to clarification on miner's rights; to a need to have a generic risk assessment for small mining operations.

To help guide future policy deliberations APLA members took the opportunity to take the DMP team on a site visit of large scale prospecting activities after the presentation. The aim was to provide DMP with a better understanding of the methods used and rehabilitation success achieved.

DMP would like to thank APLA and its members for their hospitality and we look forward to continuing our tradition and attending the 2016 conference.

Change of Command

In Change of command2013 major change was underway within the Environment Division as part of the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s (DMP’s) Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program. But what had been planned now needed strong leadership to bring to fruition. 

Dr Marnie Leybourne and Mr Steve Tantala both came from outside of DMP with the right experience and talent for the challenge. 

Marnie, who had worked for the State Government for 17 years and was previously an Executive Director at the Department of Water, was appointed General Manager Administration and Reform.

Steve moved to Perth from his home city of Canberra before being appointed Director Operations, coming to DMP with 12 years' experience working for the Australian Government. 

Fresh to DMP, inspired and looking forward to the tasks that laid ahead for the Division, they both worked together to help deliver the new risk-based and outcome focused approach that would be crucial to reforming DMP’s environmental regulatory system. 

Initially the reform also meant that the Environment Division would undergo a complete restructure and although reform in any language may be difficult and daunting for staff going through massive changes, it was not long before Steve and Marnie were well respected and admired. 

In August Steve retired and staff within DMP said their final goodbyes, Steve was not only a wonderful character but also built close relationships with his direct reports. Steve’s warm and approachable disposition virtually compelled staff to deliver and he was also very proud of them.

Following Steve’s retirement, the recruitment process for the Director Operations position got underway and after a thorough selection process, with a strong field of candidates, Dr Marnie Leybourne was successful in being appointed to the role. Congratulations Marnie!

Abandoned mines project underway

Final Abandoned Mines Policy

The Abandoned mine consultation period for the draft abandoned mines policy closed in September with a number of excellent suggestions from a range of interested parties. Overall the policy was well received and supported.

Feedback was consolidated and provided to the Mining Rehabilitation Advisory Panel (MRAP) on 18 November 2015 prior to the release of the final policy.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) would like to thank all the individuals, organisations and agencies who took the time to provide feedback on the draft policy.

The final version of the policy, along with a collated list of responses received during the consultation period, will be available at the Abandoned Mines website by January 2016.

The rehabilitation and management approach presented in the Abandoned Mines Policy will be trialled across four pilot site projects over the next 18 months to two years. The pilot sites are:

Pro Force Gold Mine

An Abandoned mine auction of old mining plant at the Coolgardie Pro-Force gold mine was the first step towards the rehabilitation of the site under DMP’s Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) and is the first of the four pilot sites.

The auction, which was held last month in Kalgoorlie, saw the sale of a significant amount of abandoned mining plant and equipment such as hoppers, a processing tank, walkways and stairs, earthmoving equipment, tyres and scrap metal. All items will be removed from the site by the purchaser.  It is the first time DMP has been involved in auctioning off equipment from an abandoned mine.

The sites rehabilitation will progressively happen over the next couple of years.

The site is adjacent to Coolgardie Gorge which is the former reservoir for the old Hampton Townsite and is visited by quite a lot of tourists, particularly when it is full of water.

Ellendale Diamond Mine

The Ellendale Diamond Mine was abandoned by the Kimberley Diamond Company and placed into liquidation in July this year. 

A Ellendale Diamond Mine multidisciplinary management team led by MRF Manager Environmental Reform, Sarah Bellamy known as the ‘Ellendale Management Unit’ has been formed to coordinate the assessment and management of the Ellendale Diamond Mine area.  The team will focus on ensuring the resource value at the site does not diminish and make sure abandonment liabilities do not substantially increase.  The team also aims to ensure that the site remains a resource target for proponents and a valuable asset to the State. 

Although the scope does not include full rehabilitation and closure, the MRF should provide the necessary financial resources to allow for the management of significant safety and environmental risks to ensure the site is safe, stable and non-polluting.  A project plan will be presented to the (MRAP) for consideration before works commence.

DMP will also be seeking an interested party to take on ownership of the tenements. By taking on ownership of the tenements, the tenement holder would have access to the remaining mineral diamond resource and would be expected to identify and schedule rehabilitation opportunities for the existing mine disturbances as well as any new mining activities. 

Reduction of end to end timing on Mining Proposals

The average total assessment time for Mining Proposals has decreased since the Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program started in 2013, with fewer applications being rejected and withdrawn.

The average number of total working days from submission to finalisation, including days the registration was On-hold, for Mining Proposals has decreased from 132 days in 2013, to 75 days to date in 2015.  These reductions demonstrate the immediate positive impacts the RER program and recent changes within the Environment Division are having on the approvals process.

Increased support offered by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) in pre-consultation engagement with applicants, as well as the shift towards online lodgement, have helped to reduce the work involved in assessing applications and contributed to the reductions.  Other contributing factors include improvements which have been made to guidance material and refining internal processes.

The reduction in total processing time for Mining Proposals demonstrates DMP's commitment to ensuring assessments are undertaken efficiently and in a timely manner.

DMP now hopes to make further reductions to assessment and approval times over the coming years through ongoing online system development, creating better integrated systems across DMP and through refining the requirements of a Mining Proposal to include principles of risk and outcomes based regulation.

New DMP website launch

After investing three years into researching and developing a new user-centric website, the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) launched its new website last month.  Final user testing on the new website was undertaken with a cross-section of industry stakeholders and community representatives in September. The results of this testing was very positive, with stakeholders reporting that the new site was user-friendly and intuitive. Those who took part in the testing also said they liked the modern and clean design of the new website and found it very easy to navigate.

The Environment Division (ED) webpages have been rearranged with a new Consultation section that outlines all the reforms that DMP and ED are undertaking. The Environment Guidelines and Information Sheets page provides access to all our guidelines and environmental notes. The Documents and Publications page comprises a search function to assist in locating any of the ED's accessible information. Events and briefing sessions on environmental reform will be coming soon to the Environment Events page.

A training video has also been prepared to help website users familiarise themselves with the navigation and features of the new website and can be accessed here.

Mining Proposal reform update

Stakeholder briefing sessions

The Mining Proposal reform update Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) held stakeholder briefing sessions in Perth and Kalgoorlie last month to discuss the status of reforms to Mining Proposals and other Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) projects. The focus of the briefing sessions was to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide feedback or comment on the draft Mining Proposal guidelines and the RER program. The sessions followed on from the previous session held on 7 October 2014 and the Mining Proposal Discussion Paper released for comment in October 2014.

Copies of the presentations from these briefing sessions are available on DMP's website.

Draft Mining Proposal Guidelines

The draft Mining Proposal Guidelines were made available for comment on the DMP website in September for a period of eight weeks. This consultation period has now closed however you can still view the draft Mining Proposal Guidelines on the website.

DMP is currently reviewing the comments received with the aim of finalising the guidelines by February 2016.

Industry Reference Group for Mining Proposal Reform

The Industry Reference Group for Mining Proposal Reform has been an essential partner in drafting the new Mining Proposal Guidelines. Members of the reference group attended the stakeholder briefing sessions and answered questions from the audience. DMP would like to thank these members for their valuable contribution to the reform to-date.

Membership of the Industry Reference Group for Mining Proposal Reform was finalised in November 2014. The role of this group is to work closely with DMP to develop the shape and content of the new Mining Proposal Guidelines, including the proposed risk assessment framework, key environmental factors to be considered in the Mining Proposal and associated baseline environmental data. Three meetings have been held since November 2014, and the group meets again this month to discuss the feedback DMP has received.

The membership of the Industry Reference Group for Mining Proposal is listed below:


Phil Gorey

Executive Director, Environment (Chair)

Marnie Leybourne

Director Operations, Environment

Daniel Endacott

Team Leader, Minerals South


Alistair Conn

Senior Advisor – Government Approvals/Projects and Development
Representing the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA (CMEWA)

Angela Bishop

Senior Environmental Advisor, Environment and Rehabilitation Planning, Iluka Resources Limited

Belinda Bastow

Director, Integrate Sustainability

Brett McGuire

Group Manager - Environment, Fortescue Metals Group

James Hesford

Manager Environment, Polaris Metals Pty Ltd
Industry Representative

John Symonds

Planning & Environment Committee Chair, Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia (CCAA) / Development Manager, Hanson's

Mat Brook

Associate at Strategen Environmental Consultants, Environmental Consultants Association

Norman Galli

Manager Environment, Sustainability, AngloGold Australia

Rhys Houlihan

Superintendent – Statutory Approvals and Compliance, Karara Mining Limited

Simon Bennison

Chief Executive Officer, Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC)

Mining Rehabilitation Advisory Panel members wanted

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) is calling on people to share their expertise to help manage and rehabilitate the State’s abandoned mines.

Expressions of interest are currently being sought from anyone interested in being appointed to the Mining Rehabilitation Advisory Panel (MRAP)

Established under the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012, MRAP is a five-person statutory panel which provides independent advice to the DMP about matters concerning the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF).

This includes advice on identifying abandoned mines, prioritising sites for rehabilitation, proposed expenditure and offering guidance on the MRF’s administration.

Tthe MRAP provides valuable independent support to the department.  Members of MRAP play a vital role in helping to increase improved community and safety outcomes throughout Western Australia by managing and rehabilitating the State’s abandoned mines legacy.

We urge anyone who is interested to submit an expression of interest.  MRAP members must have experience in the management of mining operations, land rehabilitation practices, environmental, financial or legal matters or natural resource planning and management.

For more information on how to apply, visit the MRF Website for the expression of interest.

Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) update

The MRF Mining Rehabilitationhas continued to achieve success both within the mining industry and wider community over the last few months.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP)  has continued to achieve successful industry implementation of the MRF program with over $60 million currently in the fund. Interest generated on the MRF fund will be used in DMP’s Abandoned Mines program. In addition, of the 3,262 MRF reports due for 2015 comprising of over 20,000 tenements, only 24 of the 152 infringement notices issued remain with the Fines Enforcement Registry.

DMP would also like to remind tenement holders that MRF reports can be submitted any time during the reporting period, using any assessment date. Please consider completing your report prior to June.

The MRF success has also been recognised in the wider community with the program being successfully nominated for numerous awards.

MRF awarded the Premier’s Award 2015

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett recently recognised the MRF project for its contribution to economic development within the State, awarding it as an equal winner in the 2015 Premier’s Award.

The MRF was awarded for Excellence in Public Sector Management in the ‘Developing the Economy’ category. This accolade recognises projects which stimulate the economy of Western Australia and DMP were awarded as a joint winner in this category along with the Pilbara Ports Authority.

It was second time lucky for DMP as it was also nominated for the same category in 2014 but finished as a finalist after strong competition from other departments and agencies.

MRF Manager recognised for success

Sarah  Sarah BellamyBellamy, Manager of Environmental Reform within the Environment Division and the person responsible for implementing the MRF, was also announced as one of six finalists in the 2015 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Sarah was nominated in the ‘Government and Academia’ category for leading the successful implementation of the MRF policy that has transformed the management of mining projects across Western Australia.

The awards recognise the achievements of exceptional business women from a diverse range of industries and encourage them to continue achieving excellence in all areas across Australia. 

Mining Rehabilitation Advisory Panel update

The  Mining Rehabilitation Advisory Panel (MRAP) is a statutory panel which provides advice to the Director General of DMP on MRF matters.

On 18 November 2015 MRAP met to cover various topics including the final Abandoned Mines Policy and the annual MRF report. The communique that summarises the MRAP meeting can be found on the MRAP page of DMP’s website.

MRF reporting tips

Annual auditing of MRF reports has started and received excellent cooperation from the mining industry. The purpose of the audit program is to ensure that industry consistently submits accurate data and has a sound understanding of the reporting requirements.

Throughout this audit process DMP has identified a few common misconceptions surrounding the MRF. In response to this, here are five tips to remember when completing your MRF report:

  1. You need to report all disturbances that have been created during the life of the tenement.
  2. You need to report all disturbances on the tenement at the time of reporting (not just those conducted in the last 12 months).
  3. The ‘Land under Rehabilitation’ category can only be used when mining disturbances have been rehabilitated to the standard outlined within the Mine Closure Plan, and/or the Mining Proposal, and monitoring of rehabilitation has commenced.
  4. The only disturbances that can be omitted from an MRF report are disturbances that have been fully rehabilitated to the standard outlined in closure plans such as Programme of Work commitments, completion criteria in an approved Mine Closure Plan and/or closure obligations in a Mining Proposal that have been verified and approved as such by DMP.
  5. Your MRF report can be completed at any time during the year, using any assessment date during the reporting period. Please consider completing your report prior to 30 June.

If you require further information regarding these tips please contact the MRF team at

MRF website

The DMP website includes a Mining Rehabilitation Fund section providing information such as frequently asked questions, a guidance document and a step-by-step guide for verification code registration aims to assist tenement holders with rehabilitation reporting. Users can also access the relevant legislation.

Compliance actions

The Environment Division oversees an Environment Enforcement Panel that considers cases of alleged breaches of tenement conditions under the Mining Act 1978 and provides advice to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum on whether forfeiture or a penalty in lieu of forfeiture should be imposed. The Department of Mines and Petroleum believes it is important to raise industry’s awareness of common types of breaches that occur with the aim of ensuring that ongoing compliance is maintained.

Penalties in lieu of forfeiture imposed by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum

This is a consolidated list of confirmed Mining Act 1978 breach of tenement conditions between July 2015 and September 2015 that have had a penalty imposed by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum.  The scale of penalties under the Mining Act 1978 increased on 3 February 2013.


Nature of Breach

Learnings for Industry

Detection By

No. of Tenements

Individual or Company


Expansion of mining activities beyond approval, use of the General Purpose lease (G) for the wrong purpose.

Ensure all approvals have been received before undertaking works.

Annual Environmental Report (AER) Review




Clearing outside of approved footprint.

Ensure work is undertaken in accordance with approved boundaries.

AER Review



Approvals Performance Report

July - September 2015

The approval performance target for the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) is to achieve greater than 80 per cent of applications finalised within the target timeline.

The department's 3Q 2015 approvals performance continued to be at high levels across key approval areas. Highlights include:

Online lodgement trends

Figure one below provides information about the proportion of online applications compared to paper based applications submitted to DMP. Seventy nine per cent of mineral Exploration Licence applications were lodged online. Only 34 per cent of Mining Lease applications were lodged online.

Overall 65 per cent of all mining tenure applications received by DMP in the September 2015 quarter were lodged online.

Mining Tenure Applications

Application Type



Exploration Licence




General Purpose Lease




Mining Lease




Miscellaneous Licence




Prospecting Licence




Retention Licence




Application Type Total




DMP timeline targets, approval performance measures and number of applications carried over to the next quarter are provided for key approval processes. The timeline targets apply to assessment processes for approvals completed within DMP, and do 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.

Contact numbers for the Environment Division

Mineral environment operations

Environment operations minerals northern region
Ph: +61 (08) 9222 3484

Environment operations southwest region
Ph: +61 (08) 9222 3737

Environment operations midwest/northern goldfields region
Ph: +61 (08) 9222 3737

Environment Operations Goldfields Region
Ph: +61 (08) 9021 9423


EARS / EARS 2 online system enquiries

For all  technical problems or questions please contact our IT Service Desk.
Ph: +61 (08) 9222 0777 
Fax: +61 (08) 9222 3110 

The Service Desk is available Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays) between the hours of: 8:30 am and 5:00 pm (GMT+8).

For general EARS online / EARS 2 enquiries:
Ph: +61 (08) 9222 3535

MRF enquiries

Mining Rehabilitation Fund enquiries

Email :
Phone : (08) 9222 3162