The NSW Government has introduced legislation that replaces the ‘public interest’ test with a ‘fit and proper person’ test which is to be applied by a decision maker when determining whether to grant, renew or transfer an authority under the Mining Act 1992 (Mining Act).

The new fit and proper person test includes consideration of whether the person has contravened relevant legislation; the person has held a mining right or petroleum title that has been cancelled, suspended or revoked; whether the person is of good repute, and the person's character, honesty and integrity.

These changes will significantly increase the uncertainty associated with obtaining, renewing and transferring mining titles in NSW.

Resources participants should also be aware of The Mining and Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 that introduces amendments to the Mining Act and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, requiring a proponent of a mining project to hold an underlying coal title or have the consent of the title holder prior to lodging a development application for a project that involves the extraction of coal. The amendments provide that an application (including a modification) for a coal mining project cannot be made or determined unless the applicant is the holder of a mining authority for coal over the land in question or has written consent from the holder of the coal mining authority.  A mining authority is not required over the whole of the land to which the application relates but must be in force for the land where extraction of coal is proposed.