Queensland proposes to scrap tenure renewal process

Queensland Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham

Queensland Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham

The Queensland government today announced changes to the state’s mining and exploration tenure framework aimed at eliminating red tape and road-blocks to doing business.

The proposed “overhaul” was touted as providing better security of tenure in an effort to bolster mining and exploration investment in Queensland.

“Our tenure system is complex, duplicative, over-prescriptive, administratively inefficient and generally unresponsive to the needs of a globalised resources sector,” a statement from Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said.

According to the government’s Innovative resources tenures framework, released today, no changes will be made to processes relating to managing environmental impacts, land use planning and native title. And the dual approval process of resource tenure and resource environmental authority to authorise mining and petroleum activities will continue.

The Queensland government’s analysis of the current tenure framework was scathing, noting significant pitfalls in land relinquishment provisions for exploration, a lack of effective direct pathways to production and a shortage of available land for exploration.

Among the proposed changes, the government concluded that the tenure renewal process be scrapped entirely and replaced with automatic extensions, and five new tenure authorities would be established to deal with resources information, exploration, development, production and infrastructure.

The government also used the framework announcement to encourage new greenfield projects in the state and said with the new ‘fit-for-purpose’ authorities, there may be the opportunity for proponents in greenfield areas to negotiate upfront, prior to grant, mid-term relinquishment obligations.

Dr Lynham said the proposed changes would make mining and exploration tenures uniform and will reduce confusion for landholders.

“Explorers will be able to manage their work on the ground, as long as they are sticking to their overall goals, rather than having to stop work and seek departmental approval when they need to amend their work plans.

“And decommissioning including final rehabilitation will be recognised as a purpose and obligation that has to be included or referenced in plans submitted for resource authorities, rather than the current situation that relies solely on the environmental authority to regulate.”

Submissions to the Queensland government’s resources tenures framework will close on 16 October 2015 with legislation expected to be tabled in parliament in the second half of 2016.

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