In this Alert, Partner Simon Panegyres and Associate Kylie
Panckhurst discuss two new initiatives by the Western Australian
Department of Mines and Petroleum (Department)
which are intended to enhance access to mining information in
New online tenement information system to counter "data
The Department has announced that it will establish an online
system where information relating to the availability of tenements
will be provided, free of charge, following the registration of the
surrender of a tenement.
The information will be visible to all users at the same time
from the Department's website and distributed via an RSS feed
(enabling access to the latest items without having to check the
In addition, detailed tenement information will be available for
download for free on a next day basis, which should assist with
compliance / tenement management by tenement holders.
The Department's move is in response to concerns of
"data mining" by a number of companies and tenement
service providers who have been seeking to gain an advantage over
competitors in relation to the surrender of mining tenements.
The Department lodges details of surrendered mining tenements in
an electronic system before the information is made public. Media
reports have suggested that companies had been connecting software
to the Department's online tenement system through their
privileges as authorised users, thereby enabling them to gain an
advantage over their competitors in identifying and securing
surrendered tenements before the information is made public.
The new system is intended to level the playing field by making
information relating to tenement availability generally accessible
and to remove the advantage gained from data mining. The data
provided will not include any pre-registration information that may
indicate the surrender of a tenement.
Access to mapping and geological data in the field
In another development highlighting the significance of the use
of technology in the search for minerals, the Western Australian
State Government has launched a new "WAGeology" app.
This free app is intended to enable prospectors and explorers in
the field to access detailed digital geological maps and multiple
layers of information such as land use, native title and
biodiversity information via mobile devices such as smartphones and
The WAGeology app was developed from the Department's
extensive digital database and includes measuring and mapping tools
which use GPS co-ordinates for accuracy.
It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
This briefing note sets out a likely structure for the proposed privatisation of the networks and identifies key issues.
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