Draft Critical Minerals Strategy 

A draft Critical Minerals Strategy was released to AMEC and our members for targeted consultation, following a lengthy development process. AMEC has provided substantial targeted recommendations to Government, on the need for investment incentives, for the state to be competitive, and for the strategy to clearly outline Government’s role in capitalising on growth opportunities. Addressing regulatory red tape, streamlining approvals processes, and providing certainty of land access to critical minerals projects are measures Government and policy can readily influence. A notable point was the State’s omission of uranium from the draft, despite being a state that permits Uranium mining, and Uranium being recognised in a recent US Department of Energy review of the criticality of minerals. AMEC has recommended Uranium be included, as we recommended to the Commonwealth Government’s review of Australia’s critical minerals list. 

Project Management and Scoping 

Following strong demand, AMEC arranged a workshop with DEM’s Regulatory Risk Director and members. With a range of projects progressing from early exploration to development, ensuring there is a consistent understanding of regulator expectations and operating practicalities is key to timely and efficient approvals. A discussion was had around shifting expectations of project and risk management principles, including risk identification, and demonstration of mitigation considerations. Pre-lodgement and informal discussions have occurred in some form, but a more consistent understanding of timeframes, formal applications, relationships with other regulatory agencies, and supporting information, is needed across Government and industry alike. AMEC appreciated the workshop and the range of questions relating to the now released voluntary ‘Scoping’ tools, which seek to formalise this (voluntary) process. Despite consistent uncertainty and opposition to certain aspects, Scoping tools were developed and released by the Department. The Scoping process has been significantly amended from initial consultation in 2022, following strong AMEC advocacy. AMEC and our members are reviewing these tools whilst still awaiting clarity on the potential mandatory call-in of the Scoping process by the Minister.  

Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act (HRE)  

The Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act 2023 (HRE Act) has now passed the South Australian Parliament, in an Australian first. AMEC organised multiple briefings with the Department staffers drafting the legislation, to ensure mineral explorer and miner views were considered, and multiple land access maintained. AMEC will maintain this strong engagement through the development of Regulations and supporting policy. Following a restructure of the Department, the administration of the Act when commenced, will also be undertaken by the same team now responsible for regulation of the Mining and Petroleum Acts. Ensuring fair access to land amongst multiple land users, and compensation in the event access is challenged for mineral tenement holders, has been AMEC’s primary concern and point of advocacy for amendments with Government and the opposition. Following concerning proposals that resources tenement holders who object to a notice of entry from a renewables licence holder will be required to demonstrate no economic loss or material diminishment, AMEC has drafted a position paper reflecting challenges with this proposal due to the nature of demonstrating a loss from something a company is searching for, the burden of the onus of proof in relation to other legislation, and will present it to the Minister’s office, Opposition, and Department.

AMEC has made the following submissions on behalf of member companies:  

Out and About SA

Associate Members