On 15 April 2010, the Queensland Parliament passed some
important amendments to mining and safety legislation in
Queensland. These amendments include changes to the mining lease
application process under the Mineral Resources Act 1989
(Qld) and safety requirements for small mines under the Mining
and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld). The amendments
to both Acts will come into effect on assent.
Amendments to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld)
Obtaining a mining lease in Queensland can be a lengthy process.
Applicants must obtain approvals related to native title,
environmental activities, resource use, land access and
compensation, which can delay the grant of a mining lease.
The requirement for applications to be assessed by the Land
Court, even where no objections have been lodged, can also
significantly delay the process. This mandatory requirement has
become a key issue in the industry, causing significant
inconvenience and expense to many companies ready to get mining
operations under way.
The amendments to the Mineral Resources Act will allow
the Minister to consider applications and grant mining leases
without the need for assessment by the Land Court if no objections
have been lodged.
Currently, where compensation cannot be agreed between the
parties the Mineral Resources Act requires the mining
registrar to wait for three months from the date of the application
before the registrar can refer the question of compensation to the
The recent amendments have changed this so that where no
objection has been lodged, the three month period for referring the
matter of compensation to the Land Court will be calculated from
the last date the objection could have been lodged. This amendment
has the potential to substantially reduce the time frame required
to get mining operations under way.
These amendments should streamline and expedite the mining lease
grant process, leading to increased efficiency and reduced
Amendments to the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act
The Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act requires
that an Operator and a Site Senior Executive be appointed, and a
safety and health management system be put in place, for any mine
that has over 10 workers employed onsite. Mines with 10 or fewer
workers are not obliged to appoint these personnel or to develop
any such system.
Recent amendments to the Mining and Quarrying Safety and
Health Act will modify this so that all mines, regardless of
the number of employees, must appoint an Operator and a Site Senior
Executive, and have a safety and health management system in place.
The only exception to this requirement will be opal and gem mines
with 10 or fewer workers.
While this means that small mines might need to make a
significant investment of resources to achieve compliance, the
State's aim is to obtain zero harm in the workplace in the
mining and energy sector.
Amendments to the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act
2004 and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982 (Qld)
The Queensland Parliament has also passed amendments to the
Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 and the
Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982 (Qld) to speed up the
application process for offshore pipeline licences. The amendments
include changing the definition of "adjacent area" under
the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act so that the Act will
apply solely to the coastal waters of the State and will no longer
extend to include the area of a pipeline. This amendment will
eliminate possible situations in which an applicant would need to
apply for a pipeline licence under both the Petroleum
(Submerged Lands) Act and the Petroleum and Gas
(Production and Safety) Act. This will make things a lot
easier for those producers wanting to construct an offshore
pipeline between the Queensland mainland and the islands situated
off the Queensland Coast, particularly those involved with
activities on Curtis Island.
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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