Western Australia’s mining engineering sector is to become more efficient due to changes to the Programme of Work (PoW) approval system.
The WA government said cutting red tape will not only improve flexibility, but will also maintain environmental standards.
Bill Marmion, mines and petroleum minister, said the amendments would also reduce duplication across the resources industry.
According to Mr Marmion, the government will extend the validity period for PoW approvals from two to four years.
PoW approvals set out a timeframe for companies to complete their exploration works, while also ensuring these activities are carried out in an environmentally friendly way.
“This decision provides greater flexibility for industry to manage exploration programs,” he stated.
“This includes unforeseen events that can impact on exploration work such as extreme weather, access to operators and equipment and funding.”
The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum received over 2,500 PoW applications last year.
The previous PoW period of validity was already extended in December from one year to two years, but after feedback from stakeholders it has been increased further.
“This will see a reduction in the number of PoWs requiring annual review and will deliver considerable efficiencies for the department and industry,” Mr Marmion said.
However, the validity period will only apply in instances where the scope of exploration work has not changed.
This means businesses will need to seek further approval should they wish to do work that is outside the original scope of the approval.
Mr Marmion stated the decision strikes “an important balance” between boosting efficiency, while also upholding standards in the industry.
The PoW changes are a part of a number of resources initiatives being carried out by the WA government recently, including the introduction of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund and the Reforming Environmental Regulation initiative.