Natural resources and mines assistant minister Lisa France said the Newman government is working hard to make Queensland an attractive spot for mining firms.
Ms France highlighted the importance of the resources sector to the local economy and said significant progress has been made in removing any regulatory burdens.
“We have an abundance of resources and we understand that exploration is where it all begins,” she explained.
“As a government, we are determined to find ways we can continue to cut unnecessary green and red tape.”
Ms France was addressing the Queensland Exploration Council Capital Raising Seminar last week (October 22), noting that the last 18 months have been particularly promising for mining developments.
She said the new process for exploration permits is a good example of the positive work the government has been doing, with the streamlined procedure making a “dramatic difference” during the first steps of exploration.
“This process has the potential to halve the time taken for companies to be granted exploration permits, while maintaining environment, native title and land access assessments,” the politician said.
As such, permits can be processed within six months or less, she stated, which is far less than the 22 months the average application took under the previous system.
The government has invested around $30 million to finance initiatives that make the state appear more attractive for resources investment, including the Collaborative Drilling Grants and the Cape York Mineral Resource Assessment.
The latter aims to evaluate the region’s mineral potential and boost Queensland’s capacity to store core samples, while the former provides money for co-funding drilling schemes.
Furthermore, the memorandum of understanding signed between the Newman government and the Commonwealth has eliminated the need for companies to obtain multiple environmental approvals.
This provides a “one-stop shop” for businesses hoping to get the green light for projects, Ms France stated, but still maintains rigorous environmental standards.
She commented that the government will continue to try and reduce bureaucracy for mining companies, as well as strip back some of the more onerous legislation currently in effect.
“When we came to government, we inherited some 4,000 pages of resources legislation, incorporating some 15,000 statutory requirements on exploration and mining related activities across five major resource Acts,” she stated.
“In strong consultation with industry, we are planning to introduce a Common Resources Act, where the same issues are dealt with in the same manner for all tenure types.”
Oil and gas training in the state could also be given a boost, with the government noting that the Department of Natural Resources and Mines has given approval to the commercial oil shale industry.