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Strong Opposition to New Exploration Fee Structure

Strong Opposition to New Exploration Fee Structure

A peak mining and exploration industry body has voiced strong opposition to Western Australia’s new fee structure for assessing mining proposals and programmes of works.

CEO of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), Simon Bennison, said his organisation remained opposed to new fees announced yesterday.

“AMEC has opposed the ad hoc approach to back calculating fees for MPs (mining proposals) and PoWs (programmes of works) since the concept was first floated. The ‘low impact’ threshold of 0.25 hectares is also ridiculously small and inadequate for exploration activity.

“These fees are apparently required to fund a shortfall of $2.7 million in the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s Reforming Environmental Regulation (RER) budget.

“This is encouraging poor business practice and sets a precedence on how the agency will finance future shortfalls in its budget.

“The RER program should increase efficiency through the department, however industry is yet to see any evidence of this.

“The Department’s claimed $30 million saving is based on guesses of unsubstantiated and perceived savings to industry.

“Industry has been cutting costs and increasing productivity wherever possible and the agency must be seeking to do the same. AMEC is requesting efficiency gains within the agency and alternatives to be investigated to fund the shortfall.

“AMEC continues to express these concerns directly with the Minister to reverse this decision.

“Exploration and mining companies have already seen increases of up to 800 percent in one year in their shire rate notices, increasing tenement fees and rising costs of Aboriginal Heritage Surveys. There is also the threat of an increase to royalty rates in Western Australia.

“With escalating costs in Western Australia, investors will be reviewing their investment decisions and potentially looking at more competitive jurisdictions within Australia and overseas.

“These new fees for MPs and PoWs will be yet another financial impost on industry and a potential deterrent to investment in Western Australia,” said Mr Bennison.

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