Wa Mining State Agreements

Western Australian minerals belong to the crown. Any person or company wishing to conduct exploration or mining activities must obtain a mining concession area from the Ministry. The Northwest Plateau Agreement (Woodside) and the Railways and Ports Agreement (Pilbara Infrastructure Pty Ltd) are just two examples of agreements that introduce local content obligations. The most recent state agreement to be amended by Parliament, the Northwest Gas Agreement, was 40 years old when it was amended in 2019. The main objective of this amendment was to extend the duration of the agreement so that operations could continue until 2071. However, the VA government took advantage of this opportunity to impose further obligations on the company by inserting clauses into “modern government agreements” that require the implementation of community development plans and local participation plans for the project. A number of historic agreements had either a set deadline or a fixed term for mining leases under the state treaty. Therefore, in recent years, Parliament has had to consider extensions. Recently, prominent industry commentators have raised doubts about the continued usefulness and relevance of crown contracts for major projects in the twenty-first century. In the early 2000s, the “Keating Review” of the project`s development approach system reported that the industry had differing views on the mechanism of the state agreement.

Nearly two decades later, debate and discussion in Parliament on bills amending or ratifying state agreements provides insight into current views on state agreements and the role they could play in the future in Western Australia`s resource sector. Western Australia`s main resources are iron ore, natural gas, gold, alumina and nickel. However, there are more than 50 different minerals mined in Western Australia, more than in any other Australian state or territory. The ministry is the designated control centre for proposals related to mining, oil, geothermal energy, and carbon capture and storage. Just when it seemed that the boom in mining investment had outgrown, the big miners are once again pulverizing projects worth nearly $9 billion to get started. The Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) publishes state-of-the-art reports, maps and databases documenting western Australia`s geology and mineral oil resources. .

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