Temporary COVID-19 regulations to end as planned

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is advising industry that the temporary amendments to the Mining Regulations 1981, introduced in 2020 to support prospectors and exploration licence holders during the COVID-19 pandemic, will cease as planned on 30 June 2021.

The amendments endorsed COVID-19 as a valid reason for not meeting expenditure requirements, and temporarily reduced the period of time for a third party to lodge an objection to an exemption application from 35 to 14 days.

From 1 July 2021, an exemption from expenditure application should be made following the pre COVID-19 process. Further information about the standard DMIRS process is available online, along with a supporting guideline for industry.

DMIRS Resource and Environmental Compliance Division, Acting Executive Director, Dan Endacott said it was the department’s intention to cease the temporary regulation and following a review, it found a low proportion of applicants took advantage of the amended regulations.

“Only 41 applications, or two per cent, cited COVID-19 as the only reason for exemption and a further 407, or 21 per cent of applications, included COVID-19 as part of a multi-reason exemption,” he said.

“COVID-19 is no longer a significant consideration in relation to travel for exploration purposes within Western Australia, and the level of exploration activity has been above the long term average in the last 12 months.”

The previously published Minister’s Opinion relating to applications for suspensions and extensions under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967, confirming COVID-19 as suitable grounds for a force majeure application, will also conclude.

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