Exploration and mining companies have a duty to mine responsibly to protect the environment and the public. All tenement applications are rigorously assessed. The department will only approve a quarry or mine if satisfied the company can appropriately manage its environmental and community impact. We will hold them accountable for limiting their impact.

Companies must report on their operations and compliance every year.

Mining tenement assessment process

Stage 1 – Mining applications

Mining applications and assessments follow these steps:

1. Mining company engages with the community

Before a mining application is submitted, the company must give stakeholders the opportunity to provide input on the proposed environmental outcomes. Details of this consultation must be included in the application.

2. Mining company prepares their application for a mining lease

They submit it to the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) for assessment.

3. DEM assesses whether the application meets minimum legislative requirements

It must meet these requirements to be accepted for assessment

4. The application is released for public comment and technical assessment

Response from the company - DEM may request the company to respond to issues raised by government and the public. If so, the company must prepare a response document.

Company lodges their response document - DEM performs a comprehensive assessment and may request more information.

5. DEM completes their assessment then prepares an assessment report and recommendation on endorsement

The company must have adequately demonstrated their ability to achieve the proposed environmental outcomes.

6. Decision to refuse or grant application

If granted, the project must comply with tenement terms and conditions on an ongoing basis. process

Stage 2 – PEPR

1. PEPR Consultation

The company must consult stakeholders on their plans to limit and manage the project’s impact on the environment. The PEPR must describe how stakeholder concerns are being addressed.

2. Company prepares an engagement plan if required

An engagement plan identifies key stakeholders and helps the mining company plan and maintain effective engagement throughout the mine’s life.

3. Company submits PEPR

The company must:

  • demonstrate that they can deliver on their tenement commitments
  • detail the control, management and rehabilitation strategies they’ll use to achieve environmental outcomes
  • indicate how the strategies will be measured.

The PEPR must meet all legislative requirements to be accepted for assessment.

4. DEM assesses the PEPR

Focuses on the company’s:

  • detailed designs for mitigating potential impacts
  • criteria for measuring the achievement of environmental outcomes.

DEM can then approve, reject or require changes to the PEPR.

Following an approval, DEM uses these criteria to regulate the site. The company must report annually.

5. Company completes obligations for approval

These include bond payment, significant environmental benefits that may need to be considered and implemented as part of the project, licences, permits and necessary access rights for other stakeholders, if applicable.

6. Approval to start operations

The company must continue engaging with stakeholders and transparently monitor and report on mining operations.