Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Marmion has announced a new fee system which will exempt exploration or prospecting work deemed “low impact” from mining charges.
According to the Minister, the new system is aimed at protecting the environment and managing the development of Western Australia’s resources industry.
“Activities which disturb less than 0.25ha and do not take place on land classified as a reserve will be fee-free,” Mr Marmion said.
“We continue to work with explorers and prospectors to ensure these charges will not be an unfair burden.”
Mr Marmion added that the fee system was introduced following extensive consultation with industry and the Amalgamated Prospectors and Leaseholders Association and included introducing moderate fees for assessing Program of Work (PoW) and Mining Proposal (MP) applications.
“These fees are being introduced to help meet those standards and ensure the mining industry retains its strong community support to continue building our State’s future,” he said.
He also said that the consultation process resulted in several changes to the original proposal, with proposed fees cut by almost 50% and suggested annual charges dropped altogether.
“The fees have been set at $6,950 per MP, which can last for the life of a mine, and $590 for a four-year PoW. This equates to around $150 a year for a PoW,” said Mr Marmion.
“While direct comparisons can be difficult, the other major mining State, Queensland, charges an annual exploration fee of $1,800, with annual mining fees of up to $76,000.”
Western Australia’s fee system starts on 1 July and is expected to contribute $2.7 million a year towards managing applications.
“But it is part of our wide-ranging Reforming Environmental Regulation program, which is forecast to save the WA resources industry more than $30 million a year from now on,” the Minister concluded.