The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) assesses environmental proposals for prospecting, mining exploration and development activities in accordance with the Mining Act 1978 for onshore mining activities in Western Australia (WA) and the Offshore Minerals Act 2003 for mining activities within WA State waters.
The Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012 and the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Regulations 2013 provide a legislative framework for declaring abandoned mine sites and enables the Mining Rehabilitation Fund to receive levy contributions made by WA mining operators for the rehabilitation of abandoned mines.
DMIRS also assesses environmental proposals for petroleum and geothermal activities in accordance with:
- The Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Environment) Regulations 2012 covers environmental approvals relating to petroleum activities located in onshore areas of the State, including islands and internal waters.
- The Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Environment) Regulations 2012 covers environmental approvals relating to petroleum activities within WA State waters.
- The Petroleum Pipelines (Environment) Regulations 2012 covers environmental approvals relating to onshore petroleum pipelines.
Native vegetation clearing permits are assessed by DMIRS under delegation from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004. Permits may be required for mining or petroleum activities.
DMIRS Resource and Environmental Compliance Division has an outcomes-focused regulatory system that requires robust compliance monitoring, reporting and data management to evaluate the performance of industry in achieving environmental outcomes. This is delivered through a risk-based, outcomes-focused assessment and compliance system with prioritisation of resources to manage compliance assurance, inspections and enforcement.
State environmental approvals
Mining, petroleum and geothermal activity proposals that may have a significant impact on the environment will be referred to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for environmental impact assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
Commonwealth environmental approvals
Mining, petroleum and geothermal activity proposals likely to have significant impact to matters of national environmental significance should be referred by the company for environmental impact assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth). The Commonwealth and State have a bilateral agreement where environmental impact assessments may be undertaken by the EPA.
Environmental risks and impacts associated with petroleum and greenhouse gas storage activities in Commonwealth waters are assessed by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) in accordance with the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009.
Guidance note on environmental non-compliance and incident reporting
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s (DMIRS) compliance program for the minerals, petroleum, geothermal and greenhouse gas storage sectors includes a range of activities to achieve operator compliance with legislation and policies relevant to the relevant sector.
At the core of the department’s approach is the primary objective of fostering voluntary compliance with environmental obligations. This is in line with increased community expectations in relation to environmental performance, disclosure and transparency in the resources sector. To meet this expectation, the department has updated and improved the process by which industry can self-report environmental non-compliances and incidents.
For information on how to report a non-compliance or incident, please refer to the Resource and Environmental Compliance Division’s Guidance Note for Non-compliances and Incidents.