The Western Australian Government has approved draft mining amendment legislation in an effort to support the security of tenures in the state’s mining sector. 

Following the decision in the Forrest & Forrest versus Wilson case in 2017, the High Court found that granted mining leases were invalid if they did not strictly follow the Mining Act 1978‘s process for preparing and lodging tenement applications. 

The new draft legislation forms part of the Western Australian Government’s efforts to address procedural matters in the Mining Act 1978 and prevent future scenarios like those arising from the High Court’s decision. 

Changes will include amendments to address common pitfalls in the tenement application process such as the statements required to accompany an exploration licence application. 

The amendments will also address the Blue Ribbon Mines versus Roy Hill Infrastructure decision in 2022 which found that the Mines and Petroleum Minister does not have the power to excise areas from the grant of an application for an exploration licence.   

Procedural changes to the Mining Act 1978 were proposed as part of the Mining Amendment (Procedures and Validation) Bill 2018, with validation matters addressing existing mining leases remaining subject to ongoing consultation with the Federal Government to consider Native Title Act 1993 amendments. 

Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, David Michael, said that the State Government understands the importance of Western Australia’s mining sector to the state and national economies, much of which is underpinned by security of tenure. 

“Splitting the draft mining amendment legislation in two will speed up the legislative process and deliver greater certainty to industry,” Mr Michael said.  

“We will continue to work with the Federal Government to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders, including Traditional Owners.” 

Image: Adwo/shutterstock.com 

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