Legislation and compliance

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:

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 Environment 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.

State Law Publisher

The above Acts and Regulations are published in full on the State Law Publisher and the Commonwealth COMLAW websites.

Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

The primary intent of the Mining Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (Bill) is to consolidate and clarify the requirements on tenement holders relating to environmental management, by bringing parts of the Act together into a new Part IVAA.

In addition the Bill makes consequential amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Mining Legislation Amendment Act 2014, including minor administrative changes to the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012.

It is not the intent of the Bill to make wholesale changes to the Mining Act, nor rewind any of the proven and trusted legislative mechanisms that have underpinned the success of the Western Australian resources sector.