The McGowan Government has introduced new rules that will fast-track mining projects to production.
Many large mining projects rely on infrastructure corridors to connect their mine to other processing sites or essential services.
These corridors can stretch up to hundreds of kilometres, and are used to build haul roads, power lines, pipelines and conveyor systems.
Mining companies were previously required to have all land access licences granted prior to lodging their environmental applications for approval. This meant that for long infrastructure, construction could not commence until land access was approved along the entire corridor.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has implemented new changes to enable mining companies to commence construction in a staged manner along the corridors, and environmental assessments will be conducted while licences are still pending.
These changes will not affect environmental, safety or heritage standards, and construction cannot occur until the mining proposal is assessed and environmentally acceptable.
Fortescue Metals Group has already implemented these changes at its Eliwana iron ore mine, which celebrated first ore this week. The changes helped Fortescue fast-track its project to production, removed application duplication and reduced the wait time for various licences to be granted.
As stated by Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:
“The new rules have the potential to cut months off the construction timeline for companies, which is important for creating jobs for Western Australians and growing our economy.
“Environmental assessments of the whole mining infrastructure corridor will now only have to be conducted once, at the start of the project, rather than on multiple occasions.
“The McGowan Government has listened to industry and investigated ways to cut red tape.
“These new arrangements are already being utilised by industry and are resulting in significant savings in construction schedules.”