New minimum prospecting standards to improve clarity for mineral industry and community
The NSW Government has released minimum standards to improve tenure management for mineral and coal prospecting, reduce red tape, and better guide applicants requesting the grant, renewal or transfer of exploration licences and assessment leases.
Mining, Exploration and Geoscience Deputy Secretary Michael Wright said the introduction of the new minimum standards will clearly indicate the information applicants need to provide to have their applications properly assessed and considered.
Mr Wright said the minimum standards do not alter the Department’s robust application assessment criteria.
“The new minimum standards will help applicants compile more consistent and informed applications and give decision makers greater confidence in deciding whether to grant or refuse an application,” Mr Wright said.
“To use a sporting analogy, the introduction of minimum standards is not us moving the goalposts or lengthening the pitch, rather it is us upgrading lighting towers to make it easier for both players and spectators to see what’s happening on the field.
“Knowing exactly what information is required to lodge a complete application and how that information is considered and assessed will also provide greater transparency to the public about how our application processes operate.”
Mr Wright said the minimum standards also provide an opportunity to reduce red tape and streamline elements of the Department’s prospecting tenure management approach by moving to an outcomes-focused work program system.
“We want applicants to be genuinely committed to advancing the geological knowledge of our state and the best way to do that is ensuring those holding tenure are exploring effectively, efficiently and sustainably,” Mr Wright said.
“To that end, there will be some changes to the way applicants are required to prepare their work programs that will come into effect on 1 October 2020, which gives all stakeholders plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the new administrative procedures.
“We consulted widely with industry, explorers and landholders during the development of the minimum standards and I want to thank everyone for their feedback, which proved invaluable during the formation and delivery of these measures.”