The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) established assessment timeline performance targets for its key approvals as part of its commitment to providing timeliness and certainty to proponents. The department publishes quarterly performance figures against these target timelines.
|Application type||Target timeframe for decision|
|Programme of works (prospecting/exploration)||80% within 30 business days|
|Mining proposal||80% within 30 business days|
|Mine closure plan||
80% within 30 business days (for mine closure plans which accompany mining proposals)
80% within 60 business days (for other Mine Closure Plans )
|Environment plan||80% within 30 calendar days|
|Oil spill contingency plan||80% within 30 calendar days|
|Native vegetation clearing permit||
100% within 90 calendar days80% within 60 calendar days
All proponents can use DMIRS’s online application tracking system to inform themselves of the status of their application against these target timeframes where applicable.
Prioritisation of applications
All environmental applications are processed in the order in which they are received, with the aspirational aim to have all applications determined within the target timeframe. An initial review is made on submission to identify complex applications to ensure these are not delayed.
On occasion, DMIRS receives requests from proponents for their applications to be ‘fast tracked’; so that they can receive their decision earlier than the target timeframe. The experience has been that fast-tracking individual applications usually results in decisions on other applications being delayed, to the detriment of these applicants.
For this reason DMIRS will only consider ‘fast-tracking’ applications in exceptional circumstances, and specifically where it is demonstrated that the approval is needed:
- to address an immediate safety hazard
- to prevent significant environmental harm from occurring or continuing
- in response to an emergency event
- for the reapproval of an existing Programme of Work when a Prospecting or Exploration Licence converts to a Mining Lease, or
- to address an error made by DMIRS in issuing a previous approval.
Any decision to fast-track an assessment can only be approved by the Executive Director Environmental Compliance or Director Operations, Environmental Compliance, and DMIRS will report within its quarterly performance reports any application where the decision has been ‘fast-tracked’. A decision to fast-track assessments will not compromise the quality of the decision made by DMIRS.
DMIRS does not consider that stand by costs being borne by proponents as a result of them mobilising equipment to site in anticipation of an approval as an adequate reason for fast-tracking approvals.
The timelines applied to applications which are subject to parallel processing remain the same, with the target timeline being the same as for all other applications. Read more on parallel processing.
Stopping the clock
All timelines are subject to a stop the clock process. This mechanism ensures DMIRS time does not include the time taken by other processes outside its control. For example, objections in the Warden’s Court, Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) referrals, or the time taken by the proponent to provide required information are not counted as DMIRS’s time.
A reasonable time will be provided for proponents to respond to requests for additional information. When the proponent has failed to provide the requested information within the requested timeframe, the department will terminate the assessment and reject the application. When no timeframe is stated in the department’s request for additional information, the application will be rejected if the proponent has failed to provide the information within 12 weeks of the date of the request.