The Department of Regional NSW has recently released an updated version of the guideline, Exploration Reporting: A Guide for Reporting on Exploration and Prospecting in New South Wales (Exploration Reporting Guide). This has coincided with the publication of NSW Government Gazette No 498 – Mining and Primary Industries Friday, 1 October 2021, which includes details of further requirements relating to Exploration Reports prepared under the Mining Act 1992 (NSW). We understand from consultation that the Exploration Reporting Guide is the dominant source of regulation for Exploration Reports in NSW, however we encourage review of all relevant sources of information to ensure the most up to date information is relied on when compiling Exploration Reports. Compliance with Annual Exploration Reporting obligations are critical to maintain security of tenure and ensuring tenements remain in good standing.
Please note that according to the content of the Exploration Reporting Guide at the time of writing, compliance with the guide is scheduled to become mandatory after 31 December 2021.
Key Changes Under the Exploration Reporting Guide
Some of the key changes being implemented under the Exploration Reporting Guide include the following.
Publication of Exploration Reports
Exploration Reports in NSW have traditionally been kept confidential for the life of the relevant tenement or any flow on titles granted to the same holder. On commencement of the Mining Regulation 2016 (NSW), confidentiality provisions around Exploration Reports were varied as follows:
The Department has introduced a framework for the controlled release of previously confidential information under previously submitted Exploration Reports. This framework is extended to newly submitted Exploration Reports under the Exploration Reporting Guide by splitting the format of Exploration Reports into two sections, one which will remain confidential, and another which will be released 5 years after the date of submission (unless the authority is cancelled earlier).
New Reporting Platform
Along with the release of the Exploration Reporting Guide and a number of other regulatory changes currently on foot, the Department has recently updated the Titles Management System to facilitate online submission of statutory reports, including Annual Reports prepared in accordance with the Exploration Reporting Guide. The new portal includes an online form for completion of expenditure information accompanying each report, as well as platforms for uploading reports and associated documents and data. Similar to the Exploration Reporting Guide, use of the Titles Management System to submit Annual Reports will become mandatory after 31 December 2021, at which point lodgement of reports via EROL will no longer be supported.
How can we Assist?
Key changes are on foot in relation to statutory reporting requirements under the Mining Act 1992 (NSW), which all tenement holders should be aware of. Hetherington’s mining lawyers, tenement managers, and environmental consultants based in offices around Australia have extensive experience in the regulatory framework governing the mining and exploration industry and can guide you through your obligations to ensure ongoing compliance and security of tenure. If you have any questions about the new Exploration Reporting Guide, confidentiality of reports and data, or just generally in relation to exploration and mining regulation in NSW, WA or any other Australian jurisdiction, give our friendly experts a call today.