The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) through its Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) Program explored the introduction of a Low-Impact Authorised Activities Framework. This was one amendment contained within the Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. This bill was passed by the Lower House in September 2015 and was referred to the Upper House Standing Committee in February 2016. The Standing Committee response was tabled in May 2016.
DMP recognises that small areas of disturbance can be managed with no environmental impact and that many of these activities do not need an individual environmental assessment. The sorts of activities considered to be potentially low-impact are those associated with propsecting and minor changes to existing projects (like adding additional dongas to an accommodation camp). Therefore, DMP is proposing to make some activities eligible for an automated online assessment process if the Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 is passed.
The process will be:
- proponent will complete an online lodgment containing:
- spatial details of the planned activity (location and size)
- duration of the planned activity
- evidence of authorisation to conduct the activity (tenement holder or authorised other)
- multiple notifications may be made, on the proviso that disturbance is maintained below a threshold (to be determined) and that previous low-impact activity areas have been rehabilitated.
The Low-Impact Authorised Activities Framework will come into force once the Mining Act Amendment Bill 2015 and relevant supporting amended Regulations are in effect.
More detail on the framework is contained in the Proposed Low Impact Authorised Activities Framework. The submission period on this discussion paper has closed however a summary of the feedback received is detailed in the Response to Submissions document.
Using the feedback received, DMP has developed a Low-Impact Activity Framework for Prospecting and Exploration Interim Policy Position Paper detailing a revised list of criteria.
DMP has compiled some frequently asked questions about the impact of the Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015.