Director’s foreword

Welcome to the last edition of the Environment newsletter for 2017.

Director’s foreword
Karen Caple, Acting Executive Director, Environment

I would like to begin by taking this opportunity to thank all of our key stakeholders for their support and significant contributions made throughout 2017. This year has seen much change for the Environment Division, with the most notable transformation being the formation of the newly established Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS). This exciting change was the result of the amalgamation of the previous departments of Mines and Petroleum; and Commerce, presenting numerous opportunities to share our learnings and experience as industry regulators. Looking to the future, DMIRS will continue to focus on ensuring a safe, fair and responsible future for the Western Australian community, industry and resources sector.

Further to the public sector renewals, the final quarter of this year has been an extremely busy time for the Division, with a range of policy issues and additional guidance material released for public comment. The department is extremely appreciative of everyone involved in the formation of these documents during the consultation process. Such key initiatives include:

Looking forward, DMIRS remains committed to stakeholder engagement and delivering our core services. Constructive feedback ensures guidelines; guidance material and forms are drafted clearly and provide clarity as to how we provide our services. In this regard, I also encourage anyone within the industry to provide feedback on the following documents which are currently open for consultation: 

Finally, another successful evening to highlight Western Australia’s resources sector was held in October, as part of DMIRS Awards for Excellence. These awards highlight the commitment to innovation and new technologies and help to raise awareness of the high standards in health, safety, environmental management and community partnerships the Western Australian resources sector accomplishes. The prestigious Golden Gecko Award was awarded to Hanson Construction Materials and Kings Park Botanic Gardens for their restoration guide, which utilised two decades of research to develop a new standard for mine site rehabilitation of Banksia Woodlands. I would like to encourage all individuals, small companies and larger organisations to consider projects that may be eligible in 2018. Check out the story for links to pages, which provide the criteria for these awards, along with links to the Golden Gecko Award finalists for 2017.

Thank you to you all once again, I would like to wish you, your friends and family a very happy and safe festive season.

Ms Karen Caple
Acting Executive Director Environment

New Notification of Operator Form

A new form has been developed by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) for petroleum titleholders to provide notice about changes to the operator of a petroleum or geothermal activity.

This notification is a requirement for petroleum and geothermal activities occurring under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Environment) Regulations 2012, the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Environment) Regulations 2012 and the Petroleum Pipelines (Environment) Regulations 2012.

The Notification of Operator Form provides clear guidance on how to provide adequate notification to the department to meet regulatory requirements. The new form will be trialed for six months and used in conjunction with Environment Plans submitted through EARS online.

Titleholders would previously write a letter to the department to provide notification of the operator, or any changes in this information. Often the level of information provided would be insufficient. In these instances, departmental staff spent time requesting additional information from titleholders to satisfy the regulatory requirements. In contrast, the new form clearly outlines all the relevant details required by DMIRS and should help expedite the administrative process.

For further information about the new form, please email

Consultation on Environmental Non-compliance and Incidents Reporting guidance note

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is seeking stakeholder feedback on a draft guidance note about environmental non-compliances and incidents reporting.

The new draft Guidance Note on Environmental Non-Compliance and Incidents Reporting outlines what constitutes an environmental incident or non-compliance, how to formally report an incident or non-compliance to DMIRS and ensures alignment with the department's Enforcement Policy.

Once published the guidance note will replace the current guidance note Environment Division Process for Non-Compliance with Mining Act 1978 Tenement Conditions, which covers the relevant legislation and the recommended procedure following a non-compliance with tenement conditions.

The new guidance note combines the information available for mineral, petroleum and native vegetation clearing into one concise document. It aims to provide a holistic overview of the legislative requirements relevant to environmental compliance and incident reporting.

If you wish to provide feedback on the draft Guidance Note on Environmental Non-Compliance and Incidents Reporting, please complete the DMIRS survey by 8 February 2018.

Once feedback has been received, DMIRS will publish a response to submissions on the Consultation webpage. Submission feedback will be incorporated into the final version of the guidance note which will be made available on the Guidelines and Guidance webpage next year.

Consultation extended – Mining Proposal and Mine Closure Plan for Low Impact Mining Operations form

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is proposing to replace the existing ‘Mining Proposal for Small Operations’ and ‘Mine Closure Plan for Small Operations’ forms with a simpler single form for small operators.

A single combined ‘Mining Proposal and Mine Closure Plan for Low Impact Mining Operations’ form will make the process easier when applying for a Mining Proposal and Mine Closure Plan.  

The Draft: Mining Proposal and Mine Closure Plan for Low Impact Mining Operations form includes proposed changes to the criteria for a small mining operation, recognising the level of operational risk and environmental outcomes.

Three workshops have been held in Kalgoorlie since March 2017 to discuss the proposed changes with industry stakeholders. The workshop attendees provided valuable input into the draft, allowing DMIRS to incorporate industry feedback at an early stage in the revision process.

Following the workshops, the draft form was made available for public consultation for eight weeks, which ended in November 2017. However DMIRS has extended the consultation period for this form for a further four weeks, now closing on 22 December 2018

If you wish to contribute to the final version of the Draft: Mining Proposal and Mine Closure Plan for Low Impact Mining Operations, please complete the feedback form and email to

Consultation on mine site relinquishment

A key area for the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) program which has formally ceased, was to update the Guidelines for Preparing Mine Closure Plans – May 2015.

Based on feedback from industry and its own review into the mine closure and relinquishment process in Western Australia, DMIRS has identified the need for a more transparent process for relinquishment from environmental obligations under the Mining Act 1978 (WA) and State Agreement Acts approvals.

A more transparent relinquishment process will provide operators with a clearly defined, whole-of-government agreed end point after successful progressive rehabilitation and closure planning of a mining operation. Relinquishment in this context refers to the process by which stakeholders apply for, and are granted, relinquishment of responsibilities once the relevant government agencies are satisfied that all rehabilitation and closure obligations have been met.

During 2017, DMIRS has been working with key government agencies through a series of workshops to develop a proposed relinquishment process to present to stakeholders for consultation. It is anticipated the consultation paper 'Mine Site Relinquishment Draft Regulatory Framework: Discussion paper for stakeholder comment', will be released in Q1 2018 so please keep your eye on the DMIRS Consultation page if you would like to contribute to the process. 

Feedback received through this consultation process will be used to inform the development of a more detailed policy document as well as technical guidance for mine site relinquishment in Western Australia.

The consultation paper will be focused on the final relinquishment process only. DMIRS acknowledges additional information is also required on closure issues. This includes stakeholder consultation and technical guidance material on rehabilitation outcomes and monitoring, to support the success of the relinquishment process. Therefore, while guidance on closure issues is outside of the scope of the relinquishment discussion paper, stakeholder feedback will be sought on this aspect as part of the next Mine Closure Plan guideline review due in 2018.

Industry feedback shapes future direction of POW Spatial

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) extends thanks to industry members for helping it shape the future direction of Programme of Work (POW) application and assessment processing by participating in the POW Spatial Survey in October and POW Spatial Industry Testing in November 2017.

Since the release of POW Spatial in March 2017, POW Spatial application assessment timeframes have reduced on average, by 7–10 days compared to the traditional POW-E (exploration) and POW-P (prospecting) application methods.

Industry feedback shapes future direction of POW Spatial

Proponents can now access relevant, site specific spatial data for their proposed activities which can be adjusted and optimized prior to lodgment. The system also prompts the proponent for location-specific additional information, which otherwise would have been requested by an Environmental Officer during assessment. 

Survey success

Feedback from a recent survey of proponents who have submitted a POW Spatial application indicates that the new system is strongly supported by industry:

Industry testing fast tracks improvements

Industry members from across the State recently completed testing enhancements on the POW Spatial upload functionality. 

The scope of testing included:

Thank you again for your valuable contribution of time and ideas.  If you wish to be involved in similar DMIRS and industry collaboration activities in future, please register your interest at

2017 Golden Gecko Awards recognise Banksia Woodlands restoration guide

This year the prestigious Golden Gecko Awards recognised environmental excellence in mine-site restoration by Hanson Construction Materials and Kings Park and Botanic Gardens for their project 'Banksia Woodlands – A Restoration Guide for the Swan Coastal Plain'. The award was presented at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) annual Awards for Excellence on 26 October 2017.

2017 Golden Gecko Awards recognise Banksia Woodlands restoration guide

The Golden Gecko is awarded for commitment to environmental excellence, demonstrated excellence in environmental outcomes, community engagement and ‘what makes it special’, such as innovation, a new industry standard or going beyond regulatory compliance.

'Banksia Woodlands – A Restoration Guide for the Swan Coastal Plain' was outstanding in each of the award criteria to take home the 2017 Golden Gecko. The publication provides practical rehabilitation techniques, decisions and policies for Banksia Woodlands that could be applied to sand mining and other industries. 

The publication uses 20 years’ of research by Kings Park and Botanic Gardens and Hanson Construction Materials. This shows a large commitment to environmental excellence using demonstrated results. This is the new standard for mine-site rehabilitation of Banksia woodlands and the knowledge is being shared as broadly as possible.

Representatives from Hanson Construction Materials and Kings Park and Botanic Gardens
Representatives from Hanson Construction Materials and Kings Park and Botanic Gardens receiving their award from Mr Stephen Price MLA, Member for Forrestfield representing the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Two Certificates of Merit were also awarded on the night. One was to Rio Tinto Iron Ore for its project ‘Venturi Reverse Circulation Drilling Waste Removal System’ and the other was to Roy Hill Holdings for its project ‘Utilising Mining Technology for the Tracking and Management of Rehabilitation Materials’.

Entry requirements are available on the Golden Gecko webpage for anyone interested in submitting a project for the Golden Gecko Awards next year. Key dates for the 2018 Golden Gecko Awards will be posted early next year with entries expected to open in February.

For any other information please contact the Golden Gecko Co-ordinator.

To see the highlights from this year’s Awards for Excellence please view DMIRS’ vimeo profile.

Goldfields inspections

Environmental Officers from the division’s Goldfields team recently undertook their annual field trip which included a week-long inspection program, visiting eight different sites throughout the Goldfields region. The objectives of the annual inspections were to assess mine site compliance with the Mining Act 1978 (WA) approvals and tenement conditions, along with preparedness for mine closure.

DMIRS drone in flight conducting survey
DMIRS drone in flight conducting survey

Overall the environmental management at most sites was of a high standard, however, a common theme noted was the lack of fauna egress matting within water storage facilities. Industry is reminded that all water storage facilities should contain matting and/or ramps to allow trapped wildlife to escape. For guidance on installation and maintenance of matting, please see the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) Guidance Note Fauna Egress Matting and Ramps

During the inspections DMIRS Environmental Officers were also given the opportunity to observe the department’s new drone in action. Richard Smetana of the Goldfields team, who has recently been trained under Civil Aviation Safety Authority guidelines, demonstrated its capabilities to the rest of the team at two sites. DMIRS officers and site representatives were impressed at the quality of footage and excited about the opportunities it presents as a compliance tool and as a monitoring tool.

Overhead drone shot of historic workings on a tenement where no current mining activities are taking place
Overhead drone shot of historic workings on a tenement where no current mining activities are taking place

The field trip also doubled as a learning and development opportunity. When the officers were not in the field they took a trip to the West Australian School of Mines (WASM), where they toured the mineral museum and library, as well as the mining engineering and metallurgical laboratories. Officers learnt about the rich history of the school and the valuable role it plays in supporting the mining industry. The officers also visited Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) to observe a tailing storage facility (TSF) wall lift. KCGM staff accompanied officers to observe the lift and were on hand to answer officer’s questions about TSF construction and management. DMIRS would like to thank WASM and KCGM for accommodating the Goldfields Team and for providing these valuable learning opportunities.

Overall, the field trip provided officers with a valuable opportunity to develop their inspection skills and technical knowledge. The variety of sites inspected and the team-based approach gave officers the opportunity to ensure there is a consistent approach taken across the inspectorate, ultimately resulting in better environmental outcomes for the department and the mining industry. 

Mining Proposal reform update

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has received approximately 48 Mining Proposals under the Guideline for Mining Proposals in WA - April 2016 (the 2016 MP Guideline). Approximately 25 of these have been approved to-date. DMIRS will continue to undertake revisions to templates and procedures to ensure the smooth implementation of the new Guideline.

Mining Proposal reform update

Completing the Annual Environmental Report (AER) under the 2016 Mining Proposal Guideline

Standard tenement conditions currently require an Annual Environmental Report (AER) to be submitted for sites with approved Mining Proposals (MP).

Since 1 July 2013, it has been compulsory for proponents to submit an AER using the Environment and Assessment Regulatory System (EARS2). The 2016 MP Guideline does not alter these requirements, however, the type of information required to be reported for a site differs for MPs approved under the 2006 MP Guideline and needs to reflect the environmental outcomes and reporting framework as submitted in an MP approved under the 2016 MP Guideline.

Consistent with environmental reporting requirements outlined in Section 3.10.1 of the 2016 MP Guideline, the AER is required to include results of all monitoring listed in the environmental outcomes table of the approved MP.

The table provides a simple format example of how to report performance against approved environmental outcomes and performance criteria. This table is a modified version of the ‘Example Environmental Outcomes, Performance Criteria and Monitoring’ table provided in Appendix L of the 2016 MP Guideline, with two additional columns on the right hand side which serve to allow:

  1. monitoring results and environmental performance against approved environmental outcomes and performance criteria to be summarised; and
  2. monitoring evidence documents to be listed (i.e. as-built reports, water quality monitoring reports, surveyor reports, inspection checklists, etc).


How to provide this information in the AER

DMIRS requests that an indication of compliance with environmental outcomes is provided in Step 5.1 (‘Compliance – Conditions’) of the AER as displayed in the EARS2 online lodgement system.

The table discussed above should be included as an attachment, along with the supporting documentation as listed in the ‘Attachments’ column in Step 6.1 (‘Environmental Monitoring’) of the AER.

For further information on AER reporting requirements, please refer to DMIRS’ existing environmental reporting Guidelines for the preparation of an Annual Environmental Report - March 2015 or contact a DMIRS Environmental Officer.

(08) 9222 3737 - South-West and Goldfields Operations
(08) 9222 3484 - Northern Operations


Providing the Environmental Group Site (EGS) and activity tables

Appendices G and H of the 2016 MP Guideline provides the required format for the ‘Environmental Group Site1 (EGS) Details’ and ‘Activity Details’ section of an MP. To assist proponents in completing these sections, DMIRS has provided Microsoft Word versions of these tables on our website. Proponents are reminded that it is mandatory to use this format for an MP and that proponents need to provide the Microsoft Word version of these tables when they lodge the MP online.

Proponents are also reminded that they must use the activity categories as listed in Table 2, Section 3.5.3 of the 2016 MP Guideline. These categories match the disturbance categories from the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Regulations 2013 (WA) and hence allow for consistent reporting of disturbances across the MP, AER and Mining Rehabilitation Fund.


Transition guidance

DMIRS recognises that there is significant interest in further guidance and clarification around the issue of transitioning existing approved sites to the new 2016 MP Guideline. There is also significant ongoing interest in how DMIRS will manage this work and ensure all sites transition during the six year transition period.

It is a priority for 2017–18 to release more guidance on these matters, check future issues of the Environment eNewsletter to stay informed. All guidance material is made available on Environment’s ‘Guidelines and Guidance’ webpage on the Documents and Publications landing page.


1 An Environmental Group Site (EGS) is a grouping of mining disturbances that make up a particular operation (e.g. a pit, waste dump, tailings storage facility, plant and haul road). An EGS should be set up as a mine site/operation that the tenement holder/proponent wants to report on as a single entity. It will have one active Mining Proposal, Mine Closure Plan and Annual Environmental Report (AER). For further explanation on Environmental Group Sites see Appendix F of the 2016 MP Guideline.

Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) update

The Mining Rehabilitation Fund’s (MRF’s) latest Yearly Report has been released by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS). The report presents the activities and achievements of the MRF in 2016–17, as well as providing an indication of plans for future years.

DMIRS has also made available its annual release of assessment information received from tenement holders for calculation of the annual MRF levy. The data covers the area and type of disturbance reported for each Mining Act 1978 tenement for the period ending 30 June 2017.

Mining Rehabilitation Fund

MRF Yearly Report 2017

Compliance with reporting requirements in 2017 again exceeded 99 per cent and the total contributions received over the financial year brought the balance of the fund to approximately $92.4 million, including $3.6 million in interest earned since 1 July 2014.

The report highlights DMIRS’ implementation of partnership processes, stakeholder identification and community engagement practices when completing the two pilot projects, at the ‘Black Diamond’ Pit Lake in Collie and the ‘Pro-Force’ Plant Site in Coolgardie.

The Yearly Report also combines information from various sources to provide detail on the following topics:

Visit the MRF webpage to view the MRF Yearly Report 2017.


2017 Data Release now available

There are approximately 19,000 mining tenements across the State, which are subject to the Mining Act 1978 and, as a requirement of the MRF, all tenement holders must provide DMIRS with accurate information on the types and areas of ground disturbance for each tenement. This data is used to calculate the annual MRF levy applicable to each tenement.

Mining Rehabilitation Fund

MRF data is published annually on the DMIRS website, with the released data showing the area and category of disturbance that was reported by tenement holders for each tenement.

The MRF Data Release is as a Microsoft Excel 2010 workbook, which gives users the ability to filter, sort and search the data.

The workbook MRF 2017 Data Release is accompanied by a Summary Data document containing a series of graphs that depict the break-down of the data by tenement-type and disturbance to add further value to the released data.


MRF reporting

The MRF Team is available to assist you if you have any questions, so please do not hesitate to contact them.

Phone:           (08) 9222 3162

Please contact the department’s IT Service Desk, for any technical queries.
Phone:           (08) 9222 0777

For more information about MRF reporting and how to lodge your report, please refer to the following documents located under ‘MRF documents’ on the MRF webpage:

Please remember that you can lodge your MRF information anytime between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018.

Public consultation

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is committed to stakeholder engagement.

Effective and ongoing stakeholder engagement enables better planned and more informed policies, projects and services, including a greater understanding and management of issues and potential risks. For stakeholders, the benefits of engagement include the opportunity to have their issues heard and to contribute to the decision-making process.

Open for public consultation

Documents open for public consultation are located on the Consultation webpage.

Summary Date Closing Contact
Draft Form: Mining Proposal and Closure Plan for Low Impact Mining Operations 22 December 2017 Please use the feedback form and submit your comments to:
DRAFT Guidance note for Environmental Non-Compliances and Incidents Reporting 8 February 2018 Please complete the DMIRS survey

Public consultation closed

By way of a summary, public consultation has now closed for the items listed below. Closed items will remain accessible on the Consultation webpage for a minimum of 12 months.

Summary Date Closed
Draft guidance note: Environmental Outcomes for Mining Proposals 9 November 2017
Draft Guidance Notes:
Environmental risk assessment for mining proposals and mine closure plans, and Environmental outcomes for mining proposals
9 November 2017
Draft Partnership Guideline developed to support the department’s Abandoned Mines Program. 6 January 2017
Changes to Environment Plan Summary Submission Process – for stakeholder comment 30 November 2016

Compliance actions

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) Environment Division oversees an Environment Enforcement Panel that considers cases of alleged breaches of tenement conditions under the Mining Act 1978. The panel provides advice to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum on whether forfeiture, or a penalty in lieu of forfeiture, should be imposed.

DMIRS considers it important to raise industry’s awareness of common types of breaches that occur, with the aim of promoting the importance of compliance.


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 1 July and 30 September 2017 that have had a penalty imposed by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum. 



Nature of Breach

Learnings for Industry

Detection By

Minister’s Decision Date

No. of Tenements

Individual or Company


Landforms not constructed in accordance with approvals.

Have adequate control measures in place to ensure mining activities are undertaken in accordance with approvals; Notify the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety about any changes in the design of constructed landforms.

Site Inspection

2 October 2017




Landforms not constructed in accordance with approvals.

Have adequate control measures in place to ensure mining activities are undertaken in accordance with approvals; Notify the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety about any changes in the design of constructed landforms.


4 October 2017



Approvals - Third Quarter 2017

1 July to 30 September 2017

Environment Minerals

Environment Petroleum

Mining Proposals
Mine Closure Plans

You can view mining proposals on-line using the department’s MINEDEX system.

Select ‘Environmental Registrations’, enter the ‘Registration ID’ number listed below in the relevant field, then press ‘Execute Search’.

Environment Plans
Bridging Documents
Written Notifications
Oil Spill Contingency Plans

You can view petroleum and geothermal environmental proposals on-line using the department’s Environmental Assessment and Regulatory System (EARS) system.

Enter the ‘EARS ID’ number listed below in the relevant field, then press ‘Search’.

View this quarter’s list of Mineral Approvals by Mineral Field

View this quarter’s list of Petroleum Approvals by Region

Approvals Performance Report

1 July to 30 September 2017




Contact details for Environment

Please have these contact details to hand for the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) Environment Division.


Minerals assessment or compliance

The map linked here provides you with the contact details of the DMIRS Environmental Officers responsible for your inspectorate/mineral field area.

Inspectorate map and responsible Environmental Officers


Petroleum environment operations

General enquires, notification of commencement or completion of a petroleum activity and notification of reportable environmental incident.



EARS / EARS 2 online system

General application and compliance reporting enquiries

Email :
Phone : (08) 9222 3535


Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF)

Mining Rehabilitation Fund enquiries

Email :
Phone : (08) 9222 3162


Golden Gecko Awards

Entry forms and details of how to enter the Golden Gecko Awards will be posted on the Golden Gecko webpage early in 2018.
For any further enquiries
Phone: (08) 9222 3102


Programme of Work (PoW) spatial

General enquiries



Mining Proposal (MP) Reform

Mining Proposal Reform enquiries