Mining Proposal - Environment Essay Example

Proposals in Western Australian Originally Released February 2006 MINING PROPOSALS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA FOREWORD The Guidelines for Mining Proposals in Western Australia are issued by the Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR) Western Australia to assist the mining industry in producing mining proposals. A mining proposal is submitted to DoIR and other government departments for assessment of the environmental impacts of a proposed mining operation. If approved, the mining proposal is used to determine the environmental conditions for approval.

The environmental management commitments within the mining proposal also become conditions of approval. The mining proposal is also submitted to DoIR as part of the requirements when applying for a mining lease or general purpose lease. The Director General of Mines (DoIR) has approved the guidelines in accordance with Section 70 O of the Mining Amendment Act 2004 proclaimed on 10 February 2006. Before proclamation of the Mining Amendment Act 2004, the mining proposal was known as a notice of intent (NOI).


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The Guidelines for Mining Proposals supersede the Department of Minerals and Energy Guidelines to help you get Environmental Approvals for Mining Projects in Western Australia (March 1998). The Guidelines for Mining Proposals will be issued periodically in response to new legislative requirements and to improve, or streamline, the approval process. To ensure that you are using the latest edition of the guidelines, please refer to the DoIR website at: http://www. doir. wa. gov. au/environment/D3EDAEF4AF5444B387556F666CCF00A4.

ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333 1 INTRODUCTION The Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR) has a leading role in facilitating the responsible development of mining for the benefit of the people of Western Australia. Responsible development means that mining is conducted to meet best practice environmental and rehabilitation standards from the initial planing stage, through the operational phase to decommissioning and closure. DoIR administers and regulates the activities of the mining industry under the provisions of the Mining Act 1978.

Environmental approval for mining activities is one aspect governed by this Act. Following recent amendments to the Act, DoIR requires proponents to submit a document called a mining proposal for assessment and approval before mining operations can commence. Prior to the proclamation of the Mining Amendment Act 2004 on 10 February 2006, a mining proposal was known as a notice of intent (NOI). The Mining Act and other legislation referred to in these guidelines can be viewed on the State Law Publisher’s website at: http://www. slp. wa. gov. au/Index. html 1. 1 Aim of Guidelines

The guidelines aim to: 1 2 3 Advise industry about the reasons for submitting mining proposals. Section 2 of the guidelines provides details on mining proposals. Provide an outline of the approval process for mining proposals. A common understanding of the approval process will allow industry and DoIR to work together to ensure that all approval and assessment requirements are addressed in a timely manner. The approval process for mining proposals is described in section 3 of the guidelines. Assist the mining industry in producing a mining proposal which meets DoIR’s requirements.

A comprehensive and high quality mining proposal will enable a rapid assessment by DoIR and, in turn, minimise approval timelines. Section 4 of the guidelines outlines the structure and contents of a typical mining proposal with supplementary information supplied in the appendices. A glossary of terms and abbreviations is provided in Appendix 1. 1. 2 Guiding Principles of Responsible Development The Government of Western Australia supports development that is consistent with the State Sustainability Strategy (September 2003). A copy of the strategy is available at: http://www. sustainability. dpc.

wa. gov. au/. In developing mining proposal, consideration should be given to the Sustainable Development Principles developed by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). A summary of the ICMM principles is provided in Appendix 2. 4 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333 2 MINING PROPOSALS 2. 1 Definition of a Mining proposal Section 70 O(1) of the Mining Act defines a mining proposal as a document that contains information about proposed mining operations in a form required by the guidelines.

For the purposes of these guidelines, a mining proposal is a document prepared by a proponent or tenement holder, containing detailed information on identification, evaluation and management of significant environmental impacts relevant to the proposed mining operations and the surrounding environment. A mining proposal will need to meet various requirements under the Mining Act and demonstrate that the project will comply with the requirements of other relevant State and Commonwealth environmental and other legislation.

A mining proposal must enable relevant government departments to make an accurate and informed assessment of the project’s environmental impacts. 2. 2 Requirements for Submitting Mining Proposals A mining proposal must be submitted for written approval by the Director of the Environment Division of DoIR prior to the commencement of mining operations for the following reasons: 1. As part of the application for a mining lease. Section 74(1)(ca) of the Mining Act requires that an application for a mining lease must be accompanied by either a mining proposal or a statement and mineralisation report (see Figure 1).

If the applicant lodges a mining proposal, the DoIR environmental officer will assess the mining proposal and make recommendations to DoIR’s Mineral and Titles Services Division (MTSD). Grant is normally supported if the mining proposal meets acceptable environmental practices and the requirements of the guidelines. Approval to commence mining may be issued by the Director of the DoIR Environment Division but will be conditional upon the tenement being granted.

Alternatively, if the applicant lodges a statement and mineralisation report, then the mineralisation report is assessed by officers within DoIR’s Geological Survey Division who make recommendation whether or not to support the grant to MTSD. (Please be aware that for a grant to occur, other processes such as native title and referrals to other government departments (Departments of Water (DoW), Environment and Conservation (DEC), Planning and Infrastructure etc) and local government need to be completed successfully.

MTSD administers the various consultation and referral processes associated with tenement application through to grant. ) or 2. In accordance with tenement conditions for granted leases. If the tenement was granted on the basis of a statement and mineralisation report, or prior the Mining Amendment Act commencing on 10 February 2006, the lease will be subject to a condition that no mining commences until a mining proposal has been approved by the Director of DoIR’s Environment Division (section 82A(2) Mining Act).

Commencing mining operations without the written approval of the Director of the Environment Division of DoIR is a breach of tenement conditions and renders the tenement(s) liable to forfeiture under the Mining Act. Under Section 79 of the Act, the Minister for State Development may revoke the tenement or impose a fine in lieu of forfeiture. Under other legislation, activities associated with mining operations may also attract additional penalties if the relevant approvals have not been obtained prior to commencement.

For example, clearing of vegetation without the appropriate approval under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 can result in a maximum $500,000 fine. 2. 3 Mining Proposals for Low Impact Mining Operations Low impact mining operations (LIMOs) are small scale operations that have a minimal or low impact upon the environment. The level and detail of information required to assess the environmental impact of these operations is much less than that required for a normal mining operation. To accommodate for the reduced information requirements of a LIMO, a pro forma has been produced. Examples of types of LIMOs are provided in Appendix 3.

5 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333 This LIMO pro forma may not be suitable for all low impact and small scale mining operations as factors such as environmental sensitivity and the need for a clearing permit could result in more comprehensive information being required. The DoIR environmental officer for the mineral field in which the mining operation is proposed should be contacted for advice on whether the intended operation can be classified as a LIMO and whether the LIMO pro forma can be used to submit the mining proposal.

In some cases, supporting documentation may be required in addition to the LIMO pro forma (e. g. vegetation survey, copies of correspondence with stakeholders, approvals from DEC for operations within DEC reserves, copies of clearing permit applications). The LIMO pro forma is provided in Appendix 4 and is also available at: http://www. doir. wa. gov. au/environment/EAD6667A61ED43E4896DE753CBC7F0B0. asp The contacts for environmental officers for particular mineral fields are listed in Appendix 5 or by viewing the Environmental Regional Inspectorate Map at: http://www.

doir. wa. gov. au/environment/1B97FAF5595F4B0B888A1F70E69673FE. asp 2. 4 Public Access to Mining Proposal documentation All mining proposals submitted to DoIR after the proclamation of the Mining Amendment Act on 10 February 2006 will be made available to the public via the DoIR website. If a mining proposal contains confidential information, this information should be submitted in a separate document from the main document and clearly marked as “Confidential”. A justification for confidentiality must be provided.

See Section 3. 3 for lodgement of a mining proposal document. NOIs lodged with DoIR prior to 10 February 2006 may be made available if written authorisation for access to the NOI is provided from the original owner of the NOI. Alternatively, the NOIs may be available through the Freedom of Information Act 1992. Further information can be obtained form the coordinator of freedom of information at DoIR Perth Office, telephone (08) 9222 3554 or at: http://www. doir. wa. gov. au/aboutus/A94C02E0BA00476F882D9AC4F65D2624. asp.

6 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333 7 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333 3 THE ENVIRONMENTAL APPROVAL PROCESS FOR MINING PROPOSALS 3. 1 Overview There are eight generic steps in the environmental approval process for mining proposals, as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Consultation and project scoping. Preparing a mining proposal.

Lodging a mining proposal. Screening and assessment by DoIR and referral to other agencies. Recommending approval subject to further conditions. Environmental bonds. Mining proposal approval from DoIR. Imposition of further conditions. These steps are discussed in more detail in the sections below. The process of gaining approval for a mining proposal involves interaction with a range of government departments and stakeholders, and is subject to agreed timelines under the State Government’s integrated project approvals system.

Information on approval processes and assessment timelines relevant to resource development projects is available on DoIR website at http://www. doir. wa. gov. au/investment/0F09C656808F46B1814D12BD8AC85474. asp. Further information can also be obtained by contacting the following project facilitation units: • • • For general enquiries about mining proposals, environmental approvals, identifying potential environmental impacts and

environmental management, contact the relevant DoIR environmental officers listed in Appendix 4. It is crucial that the DoIR environmental officer is consulted early in the project planning stage. For initial inquiries and general assistance with the co-ordination of different approvals required under the Mining Act, please contact DoIR’s: o Manager, Mineral Projects Facilitation – phone (08) 9222 3120 Larger or complicated projects will be assigned a DoIR project manager from the Investment Facilitation Division.

For further information contact: o General Manager, Major Projects – phone (08) 9222 0588 o General Manager, Operational Client Services – phone (08) 9222 0599 Approval processes for significant, major or complex projects are co-ordinated across government agencies by the Office of Development Approvals Co-ordination (ODAC) located with Premier and Cabinet. For further information please contact: o Project Manager, ODAC – phone (08) 92228753 A list of other relevant government departments is provided in Appendix 5. • 3. 2 Consultation and Project Scoping

The consultation and scoping phase for a mining proposal is a critical step in project planning. This step requires the proponent to define the proposed mining operation in terms of: • • • • Location (geographic, existing land use, tenure, natural and social environment). Activity (type of mining and associated infrastructure). Scale (area of disturbance, tonnages removed, quantity and type of waste outputs). Requirement for approvals under other legislation. The proponent is expected to identify and consult with key stakeholders and address all significant issues.

The proponent should begin consultation on the project as early as possible to identify the environmental issues for inclusion in the mining proposal and to allow sufficient time for improved planning and addressing relevant issues. Based on the project definition and consultation with the relevant government and non-government agencies, the proponent should develop an environmental scoping plan for the project to determine the potential environmental impacts and required environmental approvals. As part of this process, the proponent should determine any

special timings, scope and methodology requirements for environmental investigations such as biological survey. Completion of such investigations may be critical to government’s ability to adequately assess the mining proposal. Planning in advance is especially important where seasonal or prolonged periods are required to collect specific survey information, such as subterranean fauna or spring vegetation surveys. 8 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333

It is recommended that multiple approvals are processed in parallel to reduce the overall timeframes for project approval. The following examples are mining related approvals that could be processed in parallel: • • • • • • • • • Clearing of native vegetation requiring a clearing permit under the Environmental Protection Act. Constructing a plant or a tailings storage requiring a Works Approval under the Environmental Protection Act. Commencing production and producing waste water, solids or gas requiring an Operating Licence under the Environmental Protection Act.

Removing water from a pit or bore requires a Groundwater Abstraction Licence under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914. Any activities on reserved land requiring approval from the vested authority of that reserve. Projects deemed “environmentally significant” by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), requiring formal assessment under the Environmental Protection Act. Disturbance to declared rare flora requiring approval under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

The project management plan (PMP) for a mining operation requiring approval by the Department of Consumer and Employee Protection (DoCEP). The storage, handling and transportation of bulk dangerous goods requiring licensing by DoCEP. The following reference material provides further essential information to guide definition and scoping of proposed mining operations: • • • Guide to Preparing an Environmental Scoping Document produced by the EPA and available at: http://www. epa. wa. gov. au/docs/1919_5%20EIA%20Scoping%20Document%20Guide_1-11-04.

pdf Memorandum of Understanding between DoIR and EPA for Onshore Mineral Exploration and Mining Development Proposals, see Appendix 8. EPA Guidance Statement Nos 51, 54 and 56 on terrestrial biological and subterranean fauna at: http://www. epa. wa. gov. au 3. 3 Preparing a Mining Proposal A mining proposal should be prepared in accordance with section 4 of the guidelines. It is important that mining proposals are only submitted when they contain all required information in an easily readable format to enable a complete and efficient assessment by DoIR officers.

The mining proposals may not be accepted if the information is inadequate or incorrect. A checklist is provided at Appendix 6 to help proponents ensure that their mining proposal contains all requisite information. This checklist must be completed, signed and attached to the mining proposal. A mining proposal can be used to obtain other statutory environmental approvals but must still meet the information requirements of the guidelines. For example, a mining proposal may be submitted to support a clearing permit application or a works approval application.

Projects participating in the integrated project approvals system will be invited by ODAC to submit a project definition document (PDD) to assist with the scoping process. The PDD template and guidelines are available at: http://www. doir. wa. gov. au/documents/investment/PDD_Guideline_5_May_2005_(Final). pdf. Much of the information gathered for the PDD will also be relevant for use in the mining proposal. 3. 4 Lodging a Mining proposal Mining proposals should be submitted in both hard and electronic copy. The number of hard copies of the mining proposal that must be submitted depends on where the mining proposal is lodged.

Projects located in the Goldfields Region (as shown on the regional map referenced in Appendix 4) must submit three hard copies of the mining proposal to the DoIR Kalgoorlie regional office at the following address: The Environmental Officer Department of Industry and Resources PO Box 10078 KALGOORLIE WA 6433 Projects located in the remainder of the State must submit two hard copies of the mining proposal to the DoIR Perth Office, at the following address: 9 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333

The Environmental Officer Department of Industry and Resources 100 Plain Street EAST PERTH WA 6004 An electronic copy of the mining proposal is required if possible to facilitate the public availability of mining proposals (see section 2. 4). The electronic copy must comply with DoIR’s requirements for electronic submission of mining proposals, provided in Appendix 9. If the mining proposal is being used to obtain other statutory approvals (e. g. clearing permit, works approval, DEC approval etc), additional copies of the document must be provided to relevant agencies. 3.

5 Screening and Assessment by DoIR and Referral to other Agencies Once a mining proposal has been received by DoIR, it is: • • • Screened to determine whether the document meets the requirements of the guidelines (as detailed in section 4). If the document meets the guidelines requirements, then the mining proposal will be accepted for assessment. Otherwise, the document will be registered as a draft and comments returned to the proponent. Referred, if required, to the EPA / DEC, or other government agencies such as DoCEP or DEC, for advice on environmental aspects of the proposal and requirements for approval.

Assessed by DoIR environmental officers. If found to be acceptable then approval conditions and environmental bonds will be determined. If a mining proposal is likely to have a significant impact on the environment it must be referred to the EPA as required under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DoIR and the EPA (see Appendix 8) provides a list of triggers to assist DoIR in determining when a mining proposal needs referral to the EPA.

If the EPA requires a formal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), approval under the Environmental Protection Act may take from six to 18 months. More information on the EIA process is provided in Appendix 7 and is described in the EPA publication Administrative Procedures 2002 available at: http://www. epa. wa. gov. au. If statutory approvals are required from other agencies, proponents should provide evidence of these approvals in the mining proposal. Given the time required to gain environmental approvals from other agencies, it is recommended that, where possible, these approvals

are identified and obtained prior to lodging your mining proposal with DoIR. 3. 6 Recommending Approval Subject to Further Conditions Following a favourable assessment of a mining proposal, DoIR will advise the proponent in writing that the mining proposal will be recommended for approval by the Director of DoIR’s Environment Division, subject to a schedule of recommended further conditions and any outstanding approvals from other agencies. These further conditions are additional to the schedule of conditions applied to the tenement when it was granted.

The recommendation for approval is not an approval but provides the proponent with 30 days to comment on the proposed recommended conditions. 3. 7 Environmental Bonds Almost all mining proposals involving ground disturbance will require the tenement holder(s) to submit environmental bonds prior to approval. Bonds are calculated according to the type and area (in hectares) of disturbance proposed on each tenement. The requirement to lodge an environmental bond is one of the further conditions applied to the tenement following assessment of the mining proposal.

Approval to commence mining will not be issued until the correct bonds are lodged. The bond request will remain valid for a period of 12 months from the date of notification. The mining proposal will be withdrawn if the bond, or a valid reason for non lodgement, is not received within this timeframe. Bonds are legally binding agreements provided by the tenement holder, or a financial institution on behalf of the tenement holder, which gives the State recourse to monetary funds if the tenement holder fails to meet agreed environmental commitments.

Further information on environmental bonds is provided Appendix 10 or at: http://www. doir. wa. gov. au/environment/D3EDAEF4AF5444B387556F666CCF00A4. asp. 10 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333 3. 8 Mining Proposal Approval from DoIR Approval of a mining proposal under the Mining Act requires the Director of DoIR’s Environment Division to issue a signed approval letter to the proponent and tenement holder.

Mining activities must not under any circumstances commence without the approval letter from the Director. The Director’s approval under the Mining Act • • • May not be issued if environmental approvals are under other statutory control such as section 41 of the Environmental Protection Act. Does not remove the proponent’s responsibility to obtain all other relevant government approvals, including other approvals issued by the Director of DoIR’s Environment Division, such as clearing permits.

Does not provide authority for non-mining activities that may be included in the mining proposal, such as commercial tyre disposal operations to backfill mine pits. Prior to the proclamation of the Mining Amendment Act on 10 February 2006, the State Mining Engineer issued the approval for NOIs and mining commencement. DoIR’s Director of the Environment Division has now replaced the State Mining Engineer as the signing authority for approval for both new mining proposals and for older mining tenements even where the tenement condition refers to the State Mining Engineer.

3. 9 Imposition of Further Conditions Following approval of the mining proposal, the Mineral Title Services Division (MTSD) of DoIR imposes the recommended further conditions on the affected tenements. The conditions are imposed under sections 46A, 63AA, 84 and 89 of the Mining Act for prospecting licences, miscellaneous licences, exploration licences, mining leases and general purpose leases respectively, under delegation from the Minister for State Development. Once the tenement conditions are imposed, MTSD updates the tenement register.

The tenement register is a public document that can be viewed online using Mineral Titles Online (MTO). Registration for MTO is available at http://www. doir. wa. gov. au/mineralsandpetroleum/210E08722A054021BBBF6010E706F8A6. asp. Any environmental commitment made in the mining proposal becomes a legally binding obligation once the mining proposal is imposed as a tenement condition through section 84 of the Mining Act. It is important that the lessee and proponent are aware that the environmental commitments remain in force until such time as the commitment is complied with.

Under section 114B of the Mining Act, the expiry, surrender or forfeiture of a mining tenement does not affect the liability of the tenement holder in regard to rehabilitation obligations. The further conditions are recommended to ensure that the approved mining operations are conducted in an environmentally acceptable and responsible manner. These conditions may include: • • Mining proposal documentation and variations: The approval of all mining proposals will be subject to a condition which states that activities on the tenement must be conducted as per the mining proposal.

An additional condition states that that any activities beyond those described in the approved mining proposal require separate approval. Annual Environmental Report (AER): The approval of all mining proposals will also be subject to a condition that the proponent submits an AER detailing the activities conducted in the previous 12 months and the activities proposed in the following 12 months. Guidelines for the preparation of an AER are available on DoIR’s website: http://www. doir. wa. gov.

au/environment/D3EDAEF4AF5444B387556F666CCF00A4. asp. 11 ENVIRONMENT DIVISION • MINERALS BRANCH • DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES • 100 PLAIN STREET EAST PERTH WA 6004 • PH 9222 3333 4 CONTENTS AND FORMAT OF A MINING PROPOSAL This section describes the contents and formats for a typical mining proposal. The actual structure of the mining proposal will be determined by the information requirements specific to each project and especially the significance of environmental factors requiring assessment and management.

It is essential that advice is sought from the DoIR Minerals Environment Branch at the earliest stage to ensure that the mining proposal meets the necessary environmental management standards and contains the level of information required for assessment by DoIR. Depending upon the complexities of the proposal, proponents may also request assistance from ODAC or DoIR’s Mineral Projects Facilitation Unit, as mentioned in section 3.

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