The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is responsible for ensuring the responsible development of Western Australia's (WA) mineral, petroleum and geothermal resources. This includes regulating industry to ensure environmental compliance and implementation of best practice environmental management.
DMIRS Environment Division assesses mineral, petroleum and geothermal exploration and development applications made within WA. The Environment Division also conducts environmental compliance audits and inspections to ensure approved activities comply with legislation, regulations, policies and approval commitments and conditions.
The Environment Division has an ISO9001 certified quality management system and an 'Environmental Regulatory Strategy' to ensure that resource industry activities are designed, operated, closed, decommissioned and rehabilitated in an ecologically sustainable manner, consistent with agreed environmental outcomes and end land uses without unacceptable liability to the State.
Environmental approvals for mining activities are granted in accordance with the Mining Act 1978 and include:
- Programmes of work – submitted when a company or prospector wants to explore for minerals, usually on a small scale.
- Mining proposals – submitted by a company for a proposed mining operation and accompanied by a mining lease application.
- Mine closure plans – submitted by a company associated with a mining proposal and covering all aspects of mine decommissioning and rehabilitation.
Environmental approvals for petroleum and/or geothermal activities are granted in accordance with the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Environment) Regulations 2012, the Petroleum Pipelines (Environment) Regulations 2012, and/or the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Environment) Regulations 2012 and include:
- Environment plans – submitted by a company for proposed petroleum and/or geothermal activities (including wells, facilities, pipelines and surveys).
- Oil spill contingency plans – submitted by a company as part of an environment plan outlining the emergency response structure, strategy, and arrangements in the event of a spill incident.
In conjunction with the above approvals, a native vegetation clearing permit may be required. These may be granted 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.
Regulatory framework for shale and tight gas
DMIRS is the primary State Government agency responsible for regulating shale and tight gas activities, which includes hydraulic fracturing. More information can be found in the Guide to the Regulatory Framework for Shale and Tight Gas in Western Australia.
Regulatory framework for uranium
DMIRS is the primary State Government agency responsible for regulating the uranium mining industry in WA. Not only do stringent State and Federal regulations apply, but the uranium sector is also subject to rigorous international standards and regulations. More information can be found in the Guide to Uranium in Western Australia.