The Government and public service of Western Australia have been setting policy, legislating and administering a large and vibrant mineral industry since the 1890s. Since the 1960s, that early experience has been applied to facilitating the growth of World-class minerals and petroleum industries in the State.
To give exploration companies certainty, the WA Government has a transparent system, embedded in legislation, for applying for mineral prospecting and exploration licences and mining leases. Once granted, these licences and leases are secure. Applications for mineral exploration over land without current mineral licences and leases are based on a first-in-time application system. Changes in licence ownership are registered by government — no approvals of joint venture arrangements are necessary except in the first year of an exploration licence.
The process for acquiring petroleum titles varies considerably from mineral titles. Petroleum Acreage Releases occur twice a year and include a competitive bidding process based on work program and expenditure commitments.
Through the Lead Agency Framework, resource projects in WA can be assigned to a lead agency that assists the company and guides them through the WA government approval systems helping to reduce the time taken to deliver projects.
DMP is the lead agency for mining, petroleum, geothermal and carbon capture and storage proposals.
The process for DMP-only approvals for mining tenement and petroleum title applications can range from 20 to 120 business days and is related to the complexity of the projects being submitted. DMP uses timeline targets to monitor and report on the department’s approval performance. These approval performance measures exclude the time taken by processes outside DMP’s control, such as approvals required under other legislation at State and Commonwealth levels of government.
The lead agency for large, State-significant projects, large infrastructure and/or complex projects across all industry sectors, not only minerals and energy, is the Department of State Development (DSD). Such developments may require State Agreements, which are essentially contracts between the Government of WA and proponents of major resource projects that are ratified by an Act of the State Parliament.
With the recent introduction of Free Trade Agreements between Australia and a number of countries (e.g. USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Chile) including more recently China, Japan and South Korea, private sector investors do not need prior approval for investments up to $AUD1.1 billion.
Further information on State Agreements and Free Trade Agreements are available from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Leading practice principles for a sustainable resources sector – a Western Australian perspective provides an overview of the “leading practice principles” that underpin the regulatory framework for the resources sector in Western Australia.