The Department of State Development has released a handbook that explains how South Australia’s mining regulators promote and enforce compliance within the state’s minerals industry.
The Mining Act compliance and enforcement in South Australia (PDF 2.5 MB) policy handbook details the state’s regulatory stewardship aimed at protecting both the environment and the interests of the community before, during and following exploration and mining operations.
The handbook sets out how mining companies are held accountable to meet their obligations under the state’s mining legislation, including achievement of environmental outcomes, protection of third party interests and payment of royalties.
It provides clear and concise information on the state’s compliance model and regulatory tools that the state’s mining regulator has at its disposal to monitor risks, identify potential problems early, and if need be, take action to deal with and fix noncompliance.
The release continues the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability by keeping the industry and community informed about the way it manages and regulates the minerals industry.
Regulatory stewardship delivered through South Australia’s Mining Act is designed to ensure that minerals which are owned by the whole community are developed in a way that balances economic and social benefits while minimising harm to the environment.
Before exploration and mining proposals are assessed, applicants must identify environmental risks and show how risks will be mitigated, where the prevention of environmental harm and protection of people are key priorities.
Should exploration or mining tenements be granted, mining tenement holders are held accountable to adhere to approved conditions in their program for environmental protection and rehabilitation (PEPR).
Throughout the entire life of exploration and mining operations, regulators have a suite of tools to assess risks, monitor environmental impacts, and to identify and take action to ensure noncompliance is addressed.
For example, as well as reviewing company compliance reports, regulators conduct their own compliance audits and inspections, and gather their own intelligence, including aerial surveys. They also continue to assess the capabilities of miners to adhere to their program for environmental protection and rehabilitation. The most serious breaches of compliance can include prosecution of the mining operator.
Release of the policy handbook follows the Annual Regulatory Report released by DSD’s Mineral Resources Division that sums up its compliance activity and the industry’s regulatory performance.
Quotes attributable to spokesperson
South Australia’s mineral resource sector is an important contributor to our economy and our living standards and we exist in a climate where community expects it will operate with the highest standards to minimise the footprint of mining.
By releasing this policy handbook, we are seeking to provide transparency on how our regulatory powers and processes work to ensure our exploration and mining industry operates in an acceptable way.
This policy also serves as our commitment to industry to be accountable for the way regulators respond to compliance issues, and deliver consistency of regulatory decision-making under the state’s mining laws.
South Australia’s focus on regulatory leadership that is transparent and consistent in its application and enforcement provides the dual benefit of building public trust while showing companies it makes business sense to invest and establish their enterprises in South Australia.
In this way we can continue to reap the benefits of increased investment in mining activity as well as ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect the environment.