Tenements are granted subject to conditions which the holder must adhere to in order to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulatory regimes. In addition to granting the holder rights to undertake exploration or mining in a given jurisdiction, tenements will serve as a source of regulation in areas including environmental management, community consultation, work health and safety, heritage protection, Native Title protection, sustainability, environmental protection and water management.
Compliance with the various laws and regulatory requirements in each of these areas is critical to ongoing activities in the resources sector and maintaining a social licence to operate.
Work Health and Safety
There are inherent risks associated with mining and work within the mining industry. These are many and varied due the physical and complex nature of mining operations.
Work health and safety is generally regulated by states and territories, rather than the Federal Government. It is the responsibility of mining corporations to understand the work health and safety rules that apply to them, and to enforce these rules on their worksite to ensure the safety and protection of all staff. Most states have work health and safety legislation, often specific to mines, quarries and petroleum sites, which all mining corporations must adhere to if they wish to continue operations. Instances of non-compliance with work health and safety legislation, in addition to posing a significant risk to the health and wellbeing of staff, can result in significant penalties, as well as sometimes reputational damage. Failure to comply with these obligations can, in extreme situations lead to mine closure and ultimately cancellation of the relevant tenements.
Exploration and mining activities have the potential to impact the environment negatively. A mining tenement along with applicable legislative provisions will often require the holder to minimise any potential impacts on the environment as well as implement measures to ensure effective environmental management and rehabilitation. Compliance with environmental obligations is critical to ensuring the longevity of an operation and maintaining a social licence to operate.
Regulatory compliance is becoming an increasingly important component of resources projects, with government regulators focusing more time and attention on regular compliance audits and site inspections. To that end, proactive and documented compliance with environmental obligations is critical to ensure the longevity of your operations.
Community consultation is an important component of the grant process for a mining tenement with details of community consultation often required at the application phase and throughout the life of a tenement. Effective community consultation and cooperation is important to facilitate approval of a project and garner ongoing support from local stakeholders. Being able to demonstrate community consultation is a common requirement of exploration and mining tenements.
It is important that tenement holders adhere to the specific community consultation requirements applicable to a specific tenement, to avoid breaching their obligations and undermining their social licence to operate.
At Hetherington, our experienced team of mining lawyers, tenement consultants and environmental consultants understand the importance of maintaining compliance for all resources projects, from the exploration phase all the way through to mine closure. Serious breaches of compliance, whether it be work health and safety, environmental protection or otherwise, can result in serious repercussions from fines through to prosecution. This can be detrimental to the future of the operation causing significant delays and reputational damage. Hence, it is important that all operators maintain compliance with all regulatory obligations.
Not only does corporate and operational compliance ensure you are meeting the terms and conditions of issued approvals, but it also facilitates the success of your project. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are a fundamental element of any mining or exploration project.
Our team is highly experienced in mining compliance frameworks and we provide support and guidance to a range of clients in all matters of regulatory compliance. With our expert advice on both corporate and operational matters, you can rest assured that compliance will be met on all levels.
Our comprehensive understanding of compliance frameworks allows us to provide expert advice that safeguards your operations and maintains compliance with your environmental, social and governance obligations.
To get in touch with the Hetherington team, contact us on 02 9967 4844 (Sydney), 08 9228 9977 (Perth), or 07 3236 1768 (Brisbane).