Explorer #2

May, 2024

WARREN PEARCE – CEO, AMEC

AMEC Partners

Nature Positive 

The Commonwealth Government’s reforms to the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, dubbed the Nature Positive reform, have recently been split into at least two parts.  As called for by AMEC, and the majority of Industry Associations, the Nature Positive reforms in their original form included four pieces of legislation: 

  1. Nature Positive Legislation 
  2. Environmental Protection Australia Legislation 
  3. Environmental Information Australia Legislation 
  4. Transitional Legislation
     

There are also six National Standards: 

  1. Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES) 
  2. Restoration Actions and Restoration Contributions 
  3. Regional Planning 
  4. Community Engagement and Consultation 
  5. First Nations Engagement and Participation in Decision-making 
  6. Data and Information.

The original schedule was for legislation to be introduced to Parliament by the Winter Sittings. Now, the Government will only look to introduce the Environmental Protection Australia and Environmental Information Australia legislation in the next two weeks.  Both Bills are largely machinery legislation and establish the workings of both agencies.   

The Commonwealth EPA, while an identical acronym to State based Authorities, will not be an independent advisory body making recommendations on environmental assessment decisions.  It will be an independent statutory organisation issuing permits and licenses; undertaking project assessments, decisions and post-approvals; and performing compliance and enforcement.  A key concern for AMEC is that the proposed EPA will be responsible for environmental decision making, a role that was formerly held by the Environment Minister and then delegated where appropriate.  While the Government suggested mooted call-in powers will allow the Minister to step in where appropriate, industry feedback suggests concern that a non-elected faceless official will ultimately hold Australia’s economic fate in their hands.

The Environmental Information Australia agency (EIA) is the other independent statutory body the Commonwealth are looking to establish.  This agency will collate government and public environmental data and information, develop an online database, publish State of the Environment reports every 2 years, and report to Government on progress towards environmental outcomes. The first task that will be faced by the new EIA will be the development of a new National Environmental Standard for Data and Information. AMEC has concerns regarding the pragmatism of the draft data standards, which currently most surveys and data points would struggle to achieve. 

What the Government has phrased as a staged approach will mean the Nature Positive and Transitional Bill are further consulted upon.  Currently parts of each Bill have been viewed by Industry Associations in the closed room consultations in Canberra.  Of the six national standards that have been released, drafts of five have been seen, with the First Nations Engagement and Participation in Decision-making Standard still yet to be published. There is no timeframe on when the next closed door consultation will occur. To read the information that has been provided at these consultations, please go to this link The Government has also hosted public webinars, that are available here

AMEC has continued to voice concern to the Commonwealth Environment Minister and Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) regarding the lack of transparency in the current consultation.  It does not seem likely that industry will see a full draft of either pieces of legislation for two regulatory agencies that will govern environmental regulation in Australia prior to their entry to Parliament.

This is not good enough. Ironically, it would also fail the Commonwealth EPBC Act’s own expectation on consultations. 

There are fundamental concerns that need to be discussed: the sovereignty of Parliament over environmental decision making; State and Commonwealth regulatory duplication; the lack of streamlining; and the ever-increasing cost of doing business in Australia. 

AMEC has written to the Minister for Environment, inviting her to speak to industry, and continues to attend public briefings when they occur.

 

Production Tax Credit

The USA’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has globally shifted investment in downstream processing of critical minerals to the US and away from Australia. The 10% Production Tax Credit (PTC) component of the IRA reduces operating costs in the US for eligible projects. The AMEC Mandala PTC Report quantifies that a 10% Australian PTC will reduce the production cost disadvantage faced by Australian projects.

To be clear, a PTC is not a “silver bullet” or panacea: Australia has long approvals timeframes, land access issues and high construction costs. An Australian PTC would make the cost of doing business, once in production, more competitive. AMEC’s Report is built on analysis of commercial data from 10 producers and developers across Lithium, Nickel, Vanadium and Rare Earths.  If Australia wants to diversify and achieve its aspirations to further downstream critical minerals, a PTC makes Australia competitive. A PTC delivers on the Commonwealth Government commitments and aspirations outlined in the various Critical Minerals Strategy. 

 

DCCEEW

The main focus of Commonwealth environmental reform has been the Nature Positive reforms.  However, there are several other consultations that have been underway. 

Updating Australia’s Strategy for Nature 2019-2030 

The Strategy has been updated to reflect Australia’s contributions to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and specifically to protect and conserve 30% of Australia’s land and 30% of Australia’s oceans by 2030.  AMEC raised concerns with Commonwealth-State duplication; potential land use conflict; and the Strategy’s lack of resourcing to deliver any of the sought after outcomes. 

Climate adaptation in Australia – National Adaptation Plan Issues Paper 

A high level Plan that provides a strategic overview of Australia’s proposed paths to adapt to climate change. AMEC highlighted the need for mining and mineral exploration to deliver the desired reduction in carbon.  AMEC raised concerns with the duplication between State and Commonwealth Governments and their agencies within; the lack of consistent data, taxonomy and understanding across regulators and industry.  

Electricity and Energy Sector Plan Discussion Paper 

The Discussion Paper discusses the role of the Australian Government in facilitating the electricity and energy sector in the race to decarbonise.  AMEC highlighted that one of the greatest decarbonisation challenges faced by the mineral exploration industry in Australia is that there is currently no viable commercial alternative to diesel. AMEC also identified that the electricity sector similar to mining and mineral exploration faces challenges with land use conflict, uncommercial timeframes and challenging rising costs.    

Draft National Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures Framework  

The Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) Framework Discussion Paper details how the Commonwealth Government intends for OECMs to be delivered in the Australian context. Industry has several unanswered questions and concerns regarding this new form of conservation management – particularly how it will relate to other preexisting property rights and mineral exploration.   

 

National Water Agreement Consultation  

Water is a critical resource that is integral to the operation of exploration and mining projects. 

DCCEEW is publicly consulting on a new National Water Agreement (NWA) that aims to better reflect climate change, First Nations influence in water resource management, and better water security. They are seeking views on proposed new objectives and outcomes that will form the content of the NWA, and what elements of the 2004 National Water Initiative (NWI) should be included in the new agreement. 

The following consultation documents support the process:

Discussion paper – Seeking views on a future national water agreement 

Insights Paper – Pathway to enduring recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ water interests in national water reform initiatives 

The Discussion paper outlines high-level objectives and related outcomes, but little other information to indicate what the new NWA would look like.  There is limited mapping between the proposed new NWA objectives and any gaps in the NWI which is regarded as largely successful over 20 years. 

In parallel to this consultation, the Productivity Commission is undertaking a National Water Reform 2024 Inquiry and called for public submissions to inform the final report (closed 24 April). This report will be used together with DCCEEWs NWA consultation (closing 3 May), to develop a new Agreement. This will be taken to State Ministers for discussion and agreement without further public consultation. Subsequent Action Plans to deliver the objectives and outcomes will be decided and delivered by the State and Territory Governments, should they choose to sign up to the agreement. 

National Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Consultation 

Mooted reforms to the Aboriginal Torre Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 continue to be developed.  AMEC expects a new Options Paper to be released in the coming quarter.  This Options Paper will reflect progress by the Commonwealth Government and the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance.

Mine Development closure plan consultation. 

The Mining Amendment Act 2022 introduced a new Mining Development and Closure Proposal (MDCP) framework, that will streamline the reporting of how operations are meeting mine development and closure obligations.  An MDCP will be a single application document that only captures information required for assessment of a proposed mining operation.  

Following a discussion paper in 2023, an Industry Reference Group drafted Guideline is currently out for consultation until 13 May 2024. AMEC are providing a submission to the draft guideline, and would welcome further input. 

Thank you to Troy Collie of Mt Gibson Iron and James Hesford of Tetris Environmental for their input into the initial drafting by the Industry Reference Group. 

 

Resources Online Eligible Mining Activities Update 

The WA Government is developing the Resources Online platform to replace the existing lodgement portal EARS Online.  The new Resources Online platform will include the delivery of the Eligible Mining Activities process that AMEC has been advocating for well over a decade.  EMA will provide a notification pathway for mineral exploration activity occurring in accordance with strict conditions in areas that are not environmentally sensitive.  This is anticipated to lower the administrative burden on DEMIRS by approximately 30% and lower the cost of doing business for WA industry. 

The Resources Online platform is expected to begin to go live in September 2024, with AMEC participating in the Industry Reference Group.  The learnings of WA Environment Online have already been reflected back to DEMIRS and AMEC is committed to working with Government to ensure this is a streamlined project. 

 

MRF Review release 

An independent, 10-year review into the operation of the MRF is a requirement of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012 (MRF Act). The WA Government engaged Marsden Jacob Associates to undertake the public consultation and statutory review of the MRF Act in 2023, with the final report published in April 2024. AMEC and the Environment and Water Advisory Committee met with Marsden Jacob twice in the consultation. The Final Report’s 16 recommendations include many called for by AMEC such as the inclusion of State Agreement organisations in the MRF, incentivising progressive rehabilitation, a thorough review of the Rehabilitation Liability Estimate categories; and streamlining of reporting. 

Importantly the Review found that: “The Act’s objectives and purpose remain relevant (and) It (the MRF) is a well-targeted approach to minimising the risk and impost of abandoned mines to and on the State.” AMEC will continue to advocate for the continuation of the MRF, with improvements. 

AMEC are providing a submission to the Government regarding the recommendations. 

 

Conservation management plans 

AMEC and the Environmental Consultants Association coordinated an information session jointly hosted by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DEMIRS) on Conservation Management Plans.  Conservation Management Plans are required when mineral exploration and mining activities overlap with conservation estates.  The guidance for CMPs has not been publicly available since at least 2014, and the lack of guidance is contributing to delays in grant of tenure.  AMEC are seeking a follow up meeting to work with DBCA and DEMIRS on guidance to streamline the provision of Conservation Management Plans. 

 

No Mining Conditions 

The consultation on No Mining Conditions closed in February 2024. The phrasing of the proposed No Mining Condition is believed to have not been acceptable in its drafting to the owners of major linear infrastructure.  AMEC has provided a submission and met with DEMIRS separately to discuss. AMEC are discussing pursuing legislative amendments to allow the excision on Exploration Licences. 

The consultation on ‘no mining conditions’ is due to Minutes of Programming Direction no longer being used. In his Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice Quinlan on appeal of the ‘Blue  Ribbon’ Warden’s Court case that the Minister does not have the power to excise parts of blocks via Minutes of Programming Direction. The decision suggests that the Minister does have the power to impose No Mining Conditions and Approval Conditions.

 

Pilbara Environmental Offset Fund Review 

The State and Commonwealth Government’s Review of the Pilbara Environmental Offset Fund Review has concluded.  This statutory review will consider how the PEOF is operating and identify streamlining opportunities.  AMEC and industry contributed to the Review in late 2023.  AMEC has arranged a briefing for members that contribute to the PEOF Statutory Fund in May 2024.

Vogel McFerran Environmental reform update 

The Vogel McFerran Environmental Reform was announced in December 2023, and AMEC has continued to meet with the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Water, Environmental Regulation regarding the reforms.  The first of the reforms delivered on was a new office space for meeting for the EPA in Perth’s CBD.

 

Uranium Policy Announced

AMEC welcomed a commitment from the WA Liberal Party Leader Libby Mettam MLA, to lift the current ban on uranium mining.

In a speech delivered at AMEC’s ‘WA Breaking Ground’ forum, Ms Mettam said “The state is endowed with substantial uranium reserves with the potential to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and diversify our economy.”

Amidst a backdrop of increasing demand for uranium across the globe, the time for a healthy debate about reversing the ban on uranium mining is now.

AMEC will continue its advocacy for uranium mining in WA and renews its call for the WA Labor Government to consider this logical step, to lift the current ban.

Annual Geoscience and Exploration Seminar 

The Annual Geoscience and Exploration Seminar (AGES), the Northern Territory Government’s flagship exploration event was again sponsored by AMEC and hosted in Alice Springs from 16 to 17 April 2024. Not only was it the 25th anniversary of the event, a record 330 participants attended, reflecting the strong interest in the Territory’s mineral opportunity.  AMEC hosted a meeting with the Minister for Mining, Hon Mark Monaghan, with members to discuss the current regulatory environment and the rising cost of doing business. 

 

Mineral Industry  

The NT Government is seeking feedback on the draft Northern Territory Minerals Industry Plan – Pathway to 2030. Implementation of the Mineral Development Taskforce’s plan is crucial for the Territory to achieve its $40 billion economic target by 2030.  

The Plan is focussed on the delivery of the following four objectives: 

  • Diversified and Resilient Minerals Industry 
  • Destination of Choice for Investment 
  • Timely and Effective Aboriginal Territorian Participation 
  • Strong Industry Social Licence

AMEC are providing a submission.  The consultation closes on 14 May, read more here

 

Social Licence 

The Northern Territory Government has launched its new social licence campaign aimed at reassuring investors and building the industry’s social licence by asserting the Territory’s local regulatory scheme was up to scratch. 

AMEC has been involved in regular meetings with the Department to help formulate the campaign and provide examples of good social licence practices within industry. AMEC is supportive of this campaign and the positive effects it should have for the industry. 

Dewatering licences 

AMEC is hosting a briefing from the Northern Territory Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (DEPWS) on how the Territory will regulate dewatering from mining activities.  The  Government is seeking to regulate dewatering under the NT Environmental Protection Act as a drive to simplify regulation for mining operators and regulators to create a streamlined single view.  AMEC is meeting with DEPWS to clarify the regulation of mineral exploration, and work through the possible definitions of dewatering. 

 

Environmental reforms 

On 28 November 2023 the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly passed the Environment Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2023. Since November 2023, AMEC has been consulting with the DEPWS regarding how the Government will implement standardised risk assessments to standardise broad environmental outcomes.  If this is applied per project (rather than per company), this will be a positive outcome for the Territory, Government, companies and the environment.  Similar to the Eligible Mining Activities framework in WA, the Northern Territory will ensure that the framework is only applied in non-environmentally sensitive areas of the Territory.  The majority of mineral exploration activities attract largely the same conditions, so this step toward standardisation is an obvious streamlining that will lead to transparency and clear expectations across the sector.  AMEC continues to meet with DEPWS to seek these outcomes and will coordinate a briefing with members in May to discuss how implementation will be delivered. 

Royalties discussion 

AMEC continues to advocate to the Northern Territory Government that the royalty rate for gold d’ore should be 2.5%, in lock step with WA, rather than 3.5%.  Since exploration data was collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 1988, 44% of exploration expenditure in the Territory has been to pursue gold.  AMEC continues to advocate to the Treasurer and the Minister for Mining that Mineral Development Taskforce’s clear objective of making the Northern Territory competitive has to be met.  As the Government has noted a final product (gold bullion) would attract a 2.5%, however the likelihood of an inaugral mint opening in the Territory is statistically small. 

 

Minerals Titles consult 

As previously consulted in 2015, the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade is considering reforms to the Minerals Titles Act that could streamline the operation of the Act.  AMEC is anticipating a consultation on the proposed reforms to the Minerals Title Act in the next quarter. When the consultation is public, AMEC will coordinate a briefing with members.  AMEC is concerned that the introduced of a ‘fit and proper person test’ and technical work reports, will have unintended consequences. 

Critical amendments back on the table with Minister Koutsantonis 

Mineral explorers and miners can expect to finally see long awaited amendments to legislation that are a significant impediment to industry in South Australia. AMEC CEO Warren Pearce and SA Manager Peta Abbot, met with the Hon Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Energy and Mining, on the 26th March to discuss key industry issues and recommendations in AMEC’s Budget Submission 2024-25. 

 

18-year compulsory tenement relinquishment and shift from Part 9B to Right to Negotiate 

The Minister has instructed the Department to prepare to make amendments to the 18-year compulsory relinquishment of exploration licences under the Mining Act 1972 

AMEC presented the Minister with critical information that fifteen of the State’s Major Mines and Developing Projects have exploration licences (EL’s) expiring from 2027 onwards and current legislation is impacting efforts to progress to mine development or expansion. While AMEC supports a use it or lose it approach, the amendments will ensure that, there is legal provision for the Minister to consider granting EL renewal in certain circumstances. 

The Minister has also agreed to progress consideration of amending the Mining Act to shift from Part 9B to Right to Negotiate. This shift is expected to support better agreement making, access to land and will support explorers to meet minimum expenditure requirements by reducing delays to undertake field-based activities. This amendment will bring the Mining Act in line with the HRE Act and the PGE Act administered by the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM). 

These amendments are expected to be advanced by DEM in parallel but will first require Cabinet approval. AMEC will keep you informed as they progress. 

 

Groundwater Matters 

AMEC has provided a submission to the EPA incorporating industry feedback on Guideline 3 – Establishing baseline groundwater quality. 

AMEC held member information sessions in March with the EPA and the Department for Energy and Mining. This provided an opportunity for members to share their concerns with the regulators, including the practicalities and transition to the new Guidelines for mineral exploration and mining projects. 

Thank you to members who contributed to these information sessions and to those of you who provided further feedback to AMEC regarding the Guidelines. Your views were critical to shaping this submission. The EPA has indicated that they are open to ongoing feedback as the Guidelines are practically applied to mineral exploration and mining projects. 

The EPA plans to release six new Guidelines for groundwater quality monitoring of regulated activities over the next few years. AMEC will keep you informed as these Guidelines roll-out for consultation, to ensure mineral explorers and miners views are included in their development.  

 

Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act – Draft regulations 

The Department for Energy and Mining is consulting on the Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act 2023 – Draft Regulations. The HRE Act passed the South Australian Parliament in November 2023 and will become operational once the associated regulations are established.  Consultation on the Draft regulations closed on April 15.

AMEC has provided a submission on behalf of members that calls for an updated Multiple Land Use Framework, and support for an expanded Landowner Information Service as pathways forward.

 

South Australia Biodiversity Act 

The Department for Environment and Water released a discussion paper to create a new Biodiversity Act. This proposes a new legislative framework that could be seen as the state’s key piece of environmental legislation. AMEC provided a submission to DEW in March, noting that there is extensive overlap with the Commonwealth Government’s Nature Positive reforms to be introduced to Parliament in 2024. AMEC also recently provided feedback on Australia’s Strategy for Nature.  

 

Cu at Copper to the World – June 18-19 Adelaide

AMEC has partnered with Austmine for the Copper to the World conference. Held in Adelaide from 18 – 19 June 2024, this two-day conference includes keynote presentations, engaging panel discussions and innovation sessions. There will be plenty of time for networking, and an exhibition featuring project opportunities and ground-breaking innovations offered by world-leading METS.

This is a great opportunity to make new connections and meet with AMEC SA Manager, Peta Abbot who will be attending the event. AMEC members enjoy a 10% discount on delegate passes by using CTW24COLLAB at checkout.

Remake of Mining and Petroleum Regulations

AMEC understands that the regulations are being streamlined and expect to be involved in consultation over the next few months. AMEC has offered to be involved in the reviews and look forward to the opportunity to provide feedback, submissions and some genuine case studies to assist with streamlining the process & improving approval time.

Update on Rehabilitation Reforms

The NSW Government are currently undertaking a rehabilitation reform process  AMEC had recently provided a submission on Rehabilitation Security Deposits – Issues and Recommendations. Within this submission, AMEC has outlined 11 issues with the current security deposit framework in NSW, with the top five being:

  1. Administrative costs for industry and Government – the current system requires reassessment of the level of security on grant, before and after each exploration activity which is an onerous process and can require a change to cash or security instrument held by the Government.
  2. High-cost requirements for low-risk activities – the current security deposit framework is complex and administratively onerous.
  3. Difficulties with obtaining bonds – AMEC understands from industry members that it is increasingly difficult and costly to obtain bonds or alternatives to cash deposits.
  4. Need to ‘pay for rehabilitation twice’- The NSW Government holds the full cost of rehabilitation in security deposits, meaning that companies have to find the money to fund rehabilitation twice – once held by Government as a security and only released after satisfactory completion of rehabilitation and the other to do the actual work. This is a considerable cost imposition, especially for exploration.
  5. Locking up capital that could be invested in NSW – Currently the NSW Government holds $3.7 billion in security deposits for mineral exploration licences. If some or all these monies were released there could be a considerable increase in investment in NSW exploration.

AMEC will continue to seek updates on the reforms and seek to provide consultation wherever possible.

AMEC team heading to Orange

The AMEC team are looking forward to visiting members in Orange during May. AMEC CEO Warren Pearce and NSW Director Kerry Atkins will be heading to Orange mid-May.  

AMEC Sponsorship – AusIMM Women in Mining Mentoring Program

AMEC are pleased to advise the sponsorship of Katharine Flower-Donaldson, a Graduate Chemist from ANSTO, as a mentee in the 2024 Women in Mining program. Katharine is shown below right at the launch event, with NSW Director Kerry Atkins, who is participating in the program as a mentor. Congratulations Katharine!

NSW Pitch ‘N’ Pizza – Investor Briefing May 6 Sydney

AMEC is pleased to announce our second Pitch ‘N’ Pizza investor briefing event. Showcasing AMEC member’s projects to an audience of select investors on the East Coast.

Our exclusive Investor Pre Event to the Sydney Resources Roundup, on 6 May, is co-hosted by AMEC and Tau Media, endorsed by the ASX and RIU Sydney Resources Roundup.

Pitch ‘N’ Pizza features concise 7-minute pitch presentations from 7 confirmed corporates to an audience of exclusively invited brokers/funds and retail investors. Enjoy refreshments, pizza and entertaining pitches on the scenic Rooftop Sydney.

This event is proudly sponsored by MST Access, our Sydney event media partner Small Caps and production partner Figure Eight.

Mineral and Energy Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 (MEROLA)

Feedback is being sought by the Queensland Government on the MEROLA 2024 Bill. The bill covers:

  1. enhance the State’s coexistence framework;
  2. provide a framework for managing the impacts of coal seam gas induced subsidence;
  3. improve regulatory efficiency; and
  4. modernise the Financial Provisioning Scheme


AMEC has provided feedback so far on the coexistence framework and modernising the Financial Provisioning Scheme. We are reviewing the bill’s content to see how much of the feedback has been considered and included. The ‘improve regulatory efficiency’ is an unexpected element that we are reviewing for impacts to members.

To assist with stakeholder feedback on the coexistence framework – AMEC is hosting a workshop in Mount Isa on 7 May – register here

Collaborative Development Plan

The Department of Resources launched the Collaborative Development Plan last week which provides $5 million in funding for companies seeking to assess and find ways to extract value from residual materials left behind after the primary phases of mining and minerals processing. This is a great outcome for the industry and something AMEC has been advocating for strongly over the past few years. The opportunity for secondary processing has been under supported and this initiative starts to recognise this immense opportunity. The program will run as a single round and remain open until the end of June 2027, or until funds are exhausted. Find out more about the program here

Cover system trials and monitoring

The Office of the Queensland Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner (OQMRC) are currently scoping a project on cover system trials and covers monitoring. The success or otherwise of cover systems in mine rehabilitation has been and continues to be a hotly contested area. They would like to better understand how trials and monitoring practices can better contribute to successful cover systems. This project aims to investigate the relative success and failures of cover trials and covers monitoring to better understand what leading practice in this area looks like.

OQMRC is keen to hear from stakeholders on any views on the current and future work in relation to cover trials and covers monitoring.

Please get in touch with Sarah or Amy if you are interested in providing input.

Gulf Stakeholder Advisory Group and GULF Water Plan

The Gulf Regional Water Assessment (RWA) was announced in March and the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) and Working Group (WG) are being set up. AMEC will participate and provide feedback that helps identify all potential water supply options. The RWA process identifies the most viable options for detailed assessment and eventually the highest priority projects for further investment. AMEC will ensure member interests are considered and assessed.

VICTORIA

Resources Victoria releases “Toward 2030” strategy

Resources Victoria (RV) has released its “Toward 2030” strategy outlining some clear signposts for industry about the future direction of the resource sector in Victoria. RV’s priorities include increasing investment in Victoria’s earth resources, including new critical minerals, and building confidence in the performance of the earth resources sector in Victoria and its regulation. RV focus areas for 2024 include:

  • Applied geoscience and evidence base
  • Policy and guidance
  • Licensing and regulation
  • Promotion and facilitation


More information is available in the Resources Victoria March 2024 Newsletter.

Regulator waivers exploration licence conditions

To help unlock Victoria’s resource potential and reduce requirements to industry, the Earth Resources Regulator is waiving the need for licensees to progressively reduce their exploration area.  From 1 April 2024 to 30 June 2025 the waiver will automatically be granted to licensees meeting their licence requirements.  Licensees who fail to deliver their obligations will still be required to progressively relinquish land over the course of their licence, as outlined in Section 38A of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.  The Earth Resources Regulator encourages Victorian licensees and authority holders to ensure they are up to date with all the requirements of their work plan, including submission of annual reports, payment of fees and rent.

ABS data sees exploration expenditure drop further

The most recent quarterly Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Mineral Exploration Expenditure Data shows exploration spend in Victoria continues to fall to its lowest level since September 2019, with a 3.8% decrease in exploration expenditure during the December quarter 2023 to $30.7M (SepQ23: $31.9M) and a drop of 28.3% on the previous corresponding period (DecQ22: $42.8M).

Exploration investment in Victoria (greenfields and brownfields) for the 2023 calendar year was $151.8M, down 24.5% on the previous year (CY22: $201.1M), and down 15.3% on the 2022-23 financial year total ($179.3M). Expenditure for the final six months of CY2023 was down around 30% on the first six months of CY2023 and for the same period in CY2022.

Exploration expenditure in new (greenfields) areas has fallen almost 37% year on year, extending on the over 40% drop across the previous 12 months (2021), while Victoria’s share of the national exploration budget has dropped 28% over the 2023 calendar year from 5% to 3.6%.

TASMANIA

New Resources Minister Appointed

Following the recent State election, the Rockliff Liberal Government announced the Cabinet appointment of the Hon. Eric Abetz MP, the Liberal member for Franklin, as Minister for Resources.  In addition to the Resources portfolio, Mr Abetz is also Minister for Business and Industry, and Minister for Transport. He is also Leader of the House.  Mr Abetz is a former Federal government senate leader and lawyer, who today runs a successful advisory consultancy in addition to serving on several boards.

AMEC looks forward to working with the new Minister and in maintaining its strong working relationship with the Tasmanian government and the continued development and success of the Tasmanian resource and minerals industry.

AMEC submission for Commonwealth on behalf of member companies:

 

To learn more please contact Neil van Drunen on 0475 834 554.

To learn more on what AMEC is doing for WA policy please contact Neil van Drunen on 0407 057 443.

To learn more on what AMEC is doing for NT policy please contact Neil van Drunen on 0407 057 443.

AMEC submission for South Australia on behalf of member companies:

 

To learn more please contact Peta Abbot on 0475 834 554.

To learn more on what AMEC is doing for NSW policy please contact Kerry Atkins on 0403 468 994.

AMEC submissions for Queensland on behalf of member companies:

 

To learn more please contact Sarah Gooley on 0455 743 329.

To learn more on what AMEC is doing for Victoria and Tasmania policy please contact Stuart Glazebrook on 0402 216 835

Member to Member - LIMITED OFFERS

Member in Focus

This edition of ‘Member in Focus’ merges two of our Associate Members in SPOKE. and Argonaut, to provide an overview of current market conditions and the outlook for the next six months.

Kevin Johnson has more than 35 years experience in the financial services industry, starting at the Reserve Bank of Australia before hitting the stock market trading floor as a stockbroker in the late 80’s. Now an Executive Director at Argonaut, he has a keen interest in commodities and has seen his fair share of booms, crashes and cyclical action.

But it’s the big picture that excites Kevin. The worldwide trends and habits of the population, the strategy of companies in Australia and abroad, along with the impact of both federal and state political elections.

So we hope you enjoy this conversation with SPOKE’s Senior Media Advisor Emily Evans, brought to you by AMEC.

Upcoming AMEC Events

AMEC In Attendance

RIU Sydney Resources Roundup – 7-9 May, Sydney 

North West MPX – 7-9 May, Mt Isa

Resourceful Far North Queensland7 May, Cairns

Exploration in the Gallery – 10 May, Sydney

Australian Critical Minerals Conference – 28-30 May, Brisbane 

Future of Mining – 17-18 June, Perth

Copper to the World 18-19 June, Adelaide

2024 Gold Coast Investor Showcase – 19-20, June, Gold Coast 

AIG Victorian Minerals Round-up – 26-28 June, Ballarat 

Noosa Mining Conference – 17-19 July, Noosa 

Women in Mining Summit – 23-25 July, Brisbane

With growing popularity AMEC events have become a great way to promote your company through sponsorship. Last year we had a record number of events and attendees. Be sure to put your company in front of our valued members. View sponsorship options

New Full Members

New Associate Members