An online register containing copies of Queensland petroleum (including coal seam gas) environmental authorities and site specific mining environmental authorities went live on 19 February 2015. The register can be accessed here: Queensland Government Business and Industry Portal.
Environmental authorities (EAs) issued for petroleum activities have been publically available for some time. The Queensland Government has now provided the public with easy access to EAs for site specific mining environmental authorities.
EAs in the register can be searched by permit or tenure number, local government area or by the named permit holder.
EAs included in the register
- EAs for petroleum (including coal seam gas); and
- EAs for site specific exploration and mining projects that include environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) that have no eligibility criteria, or where the eligibility criteria for the ERA cannot be met.
EAs not included in the register
Those projects that are being undertaken under the standard exploration and mineral development conditions or standard mining conditions without alternative or supplementary conditions.
At this time, it is only site specific mining EAs that have been included in the register. As such, mining-related EAs which have been the subject of a variation application (as opposed to a standard application or site-specific application) and where the standard conditions are varied are not included in the register.
EAs in the process of being decided or amended will not be available for download, neither will EAs that have been issued for prescribed ERAs (that is, industrial or agricultural ERAs that are off-tenure as opposed to resource activities).
What does this mean for the industry?
The public availability of site specific mining and exploration EAs creates greater transparency for those projects that may be more likely to impact the environment.
Persons applying for EAs, or persons seeking to amend an EA, will be able to investigate conditions imposed on similar operations to ascertain how other activities are being required to conduct their activities.
It also will assist companies undertaking due diligence investigations when looking to acquire tenure the subject of a site specific mining or exploration EA. Previously the environmental obligations could only be obtained by a prospective purchaser with the written authority of the seller.