It is generally valuable to contract a mining lawyer, tenement consultants, or environmental consultant in a proactive, rather than reactive, way. By engaging a specialist at the correct moment, you can ensure that a good structure is in place for the minimisation of roadblocks, obstacles, and incidents that can slow down a project.
If you leave it too long before contracting environmental consultants or tenement managers, there is a risk that you will miss opportunities, damage relationships, or compromise operational efficiency.
By seeking support to navigate the complex world of tenement management, you establish a strong foundation that will support effective relationships with external and internal stakeholders, increase the likelihood of success (e.g., in terms of tenement acquisition and security), and safeguard your compliance and good standing within the Australian mining sector.
In this article, Hetherington will explore a number of circumstances in which you might consider engaging a mining and environmental lawyer to provide services in the mining and resources space. You may wish to engage external support:
To prepare and lodge applications
- When preparing and lodging a tenement application, which may include grant, renewal or transfer of mining tenements.
- When seeking ancillary approvals which are secondary to exploration and mining tenements but essential to security of tenure.
- When attempting to coordinate the various and complex approvals required to undertake exploration and mining operations across Australia’s states and territories.
- When a tenement application has been rejected and you are seeking recourse, for example through the Warden’s Court when in WA.
- When establishing and submitting an exploration program of work that needs to be geologically, legally sound and in line with administrative requirements. This may include a programme of work, exploration or mining operation plan, rehabilitation management plan, or program for environmental protection and rehabilitation.
- When lodging reports, such as exploration reports, technical reports, expenditure reports and activity reports, that are critical to the security of tenure and the relationships that support best practice.
To build strong, effective relationships
- When liaising with stakeholders, such as regulators, community, Native Title holders, landholders, contractors, Governments (local, state and national), or similar.
- In situations where there is overlapping tenure with another tenement holder.
- When establishing joint venture agreements and other complex commercial agreements, in which case there is a need to ensure agreements clearly and effectively stipulate roles and responsibilities.
- When negotiating access and compensation (which may be with landholders, Government, or in cases Native Title) with the goal of an equitable and amendable result for all parties that is not likely to result in future obstacles or backward steps.
- When you are seeking more information on underlying land titles within or nearby to mining projects.
- When you need support maintaining consultation registers and stakeholder engagement details.
- When you want to facilitate meaningful engagement and consultation with Government.
To maintain compliance (including environmental compliance) and reputation
- When seeking environmental approvals to undertake envisioned exploration and mining plans.
- When rehabilitating a mine site and aiming to monitor compliance and reduce liability.
- When compliance databases need to be maintained and up to date.
- When you require an independent audit of your compliance, to satisfy corporate and operational reporting requirements.
- When managing your environmental, social, operational and legal obligations.
- When seeking guidance on what is required for programs of environmental protection and rehabilitation, and programs and work, through an environmental lens, such as a groundwater assessment or agricultural impact statement.
- When needing an on-site environmental assessment undertaken by an experienced environmental consultant for exploration or mining.
- When you sense that liabilities are high, or are unaware whether they might be, and are seeking expert advice to bring any liabilities to your attention and to strategically reduce them.
- When seeking support for compliance, such as ongoing obligation management, regular reminders, tailored Tenement Management Systems, and custom obligation databases.
To support operational success
- When wanting to ensure you are aware of newly vacant land in the highly competitive Australian mining environment and could benefit from a ground monitoring service.
- When expert advice is required on potential obstacles to the exercise of rights and the carrying out of intended programs of work under the tenure agreement.
- When the regulatory frameworks are complex and you need them broken down and explained, and their navigation managed, by an expert in the field.
- When concerned around the maintenance of a social licence to operate.
- When seeking to cancel a title or close a mine site and wanting to ensure that environmental due diligence is carried out from a compliance and social licence perspective.
- When clarity is required as to the standing of the tenement, which may be helpful in your deliberations on whether to purchase an interest in the tenement or wider project.
- When producing VALMIN code compliant reports for prospectus reports and share market listings.
- When requiring project management support on large, complex exploration and mining projects.
- When you need support with the closure or acquisition of roads for exploration and mining projects and operations.
For more information on our tenement management, planning and environmental approvals, and legal compliance services in the mining and resources sector, contact Hetherington today using our contact us page.