The commonwealth of Australia is a highly developed country with world’s seventh highest per capita income. The country is comprised of mainland, Australian continent (7.618 million km2 surface area), surrounded by more than 8000 islands in Indian and Pacific Ocean that includes Tasmania (68,000 km2). The population is estimated to be 22.70 million as on 2011. Australia follows constitutional monarchy with federal parliamentary system of government with Queen Elizabeth II at its apex. Australia has six states and two major mainland territories.
The mineral resource base industries are the key pillar of Australian economy. Australia is the world’s leading producer of bauxite (65 Mt) and iron ore (393.9 Mt), the second largest producer of alumina (19.6 Mt), lead (0.57 Mt) and manganese (4.45 Mt), the third of brown coal (66 Mt), gold (~250 t), nickel (185 kt), zinc (1.29 Mt) and uranium (1.224 Mt U), the fourth of aluminum (2 Mt), black coal (445 Mt) and silver (1.63 kt), and finally the fifth largest producer of tin during 2009.
The mineral policy and mining legislation are largely provincial. Mines and minerals are a state subject in Australia and hence each of the six states and two major territories has their own mining legislation. Although there are many similarities, differences in legislation from state to state are also very significant. The policy framework and Acts are powerful with clarity, efficiency and competitive in the process to make the fortune. But the system is quite complex on certain issues.
The legislation as framed in Western Australia can be considered as model for discussion, with some deviation from other states and territories. The Act may be cited as Mining Act 1978 and updated
2009. The mining tenement or concession includes PL, exploration license, retention license, ML, general purpose lease and miscellaneous license granted or acquired under this Act or by virtue of the repealed Act. The Act includes the specified piece of land in respect of which the tenement is so granted or acquired. The application for all types of license in prescribed format is to be submitted to the office of the mining registrar or warden of the mineral field or district in which the largest portion of the land to which the application relates is situated. The application must be accompanied by the following documents.
(a) Written description of the area.
(b) A map with clearly delineated tenement boundaries and coordinates.
(c) Detail program of work proposal.
(d) Mining proposal or mineralization report prepared by a qualified person.
(e) Estimated amount of money to be expended.
(f) Stipulated fee and the amount of prescribed rent for the first year or portion thereof.
The mining registrar may grant the license if satisfied that the applicant has complied in all respects with the provisions of this Act or refuse the license if not so satisfied. The holder of prospecting and exploration license will have priority for grant of one or more mining or general purpose leases or both in respect of any part or parts of the land while the license in force. The license and lease are transferable.
|Western AustraliadTenement Type Summary (2009)|
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In recent years all Mining title applications are required to submit a full EIS. The process of undertaking an EIS can take up to three years and cost around $3M. There are not too many juniors out there who can commit such resources before getting into production. Take out the juniors who initiate 90% of new projects and very soon Australian mining will become a duopoly. Our Industry is being killed off by gutless politicians and self serving civil servants; it is well past the time to protest.
Operating Mines in Australia are about 421 mines and project