The Mineral Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2006 will provide the winner of the Aurukun Project with expedited procedures and relaxed restrictions in obtaining the requisite licences and permits.
The Queensland Government recently introduced the Mineral Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2006. The Bill provides for a series of amendments to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and also amends a number of other legislations to refine the State's jurisdictional control of sub-sea pipelines and the powers of the Coordinator-General to facilitate companies wholly owned by the State and/or local governments.
The greater part of the Bill is, however, aimed at promoting and facilitating the commercial development of the Aurukun Bauxite Resource. It essentially allows the successful bidder of the project to an expedited procedure in the legal requirements necessary to develop the project.
What is the Aurukun Bauxite Resource?
The Aurukun Bauxite Resource is a significant, undeveloped resource located in the western portion of Cape York, Queensland, Australia. The State has been seeking candidates to develop the Aurukun Bauxite Resource and establish new downstream processing capabilities in Queensland. It is one of a limited number of large, "world scale" bauxite deposits currently available for ownership and development. Previous exploration and testing have estimated that the area contains some 438 million tonnes of in-situ bauxite, giving 325 million tonnes of beneficiated bauxite at 53.6% Al2O3 and 7.4% reactive silica.
Amendments to the Mineral Resources Act
The Bill proposes to establish a new legislative framework to facilitate the commercial development of the project by the preferred bidder. The Bill will insert two new parts to the Mineral Resources Act. More specifically:
The new Part 6A will allow the preferred bidder to dispense with the usual precursor tenure of an exploration permit and introduce a simplified application process for obtaining a mineral development licence including modifications to the conditions, initial term, and limitations on the assignment or mortgage of the mineral development licence. The Part will at the same time ensure that the State's administrative mining processes are retained.
The new Part 7AAA will provide for similar simplified application requirements in obtaining the actual bauxite mining lease.
The Bill will also refine the limits and application of other legislations with respect to the project, including the applicability of the Local Government (Aboriginal Lands) Act and the Wild Rivers Act.
Thanks to Sidney Tang for his help with this article.
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