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Business|Coal|Energy|Environment|Exploration|Export|Iron Ore|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|Resources|Steel|supply-chain|System|Environmental
Business|Coal|Energy|Environment|Exploration|Export|Iron Ore|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|Resources|Steel|supply-chain|System|Environmental
business|coal|energy|environment|exploration|export|iron-ore|mining|project|projects|resources|steel|supply chain|system|environmental

Western Australia seeks to speed up mining project approvals

12th December 2023

By: Reuters

  

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MELBOURNE - Western Australia will overhaul its environmental permit system as it seeks to speed up the development of new business critical to the energy transition, its state government said on Tuesday.

The reforms come as the global push to cut carbon emissions boosts demand for metals like lithium and nickel, used in electric vehicle batteries, and green steel, while supply chain concerns redraw the map on where they are processed.

Mining CEOs including BHP boss Mike Henry have called on Australia to streamline regulation or risk being left behind as the United States, Europe, Canada and others race to develop their own industries, offering wide ranging support.

Western Australia supplies more than half of the world's seaborne iron ore and half of its lithium. Its resources sector delivered A$254-billion ($167 billion) in sales in the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

But lithium miners such as Mineral Resources are hesitating to set up local processing plants, given more attractive policy settings elsewhere.

As part of the reforms, the state environment minister will be able to set time frames for projects of state significance, while government approvals processes will be able to run concurrent to environmental approvals instead of consecutively.

The state government is looking at setting out statutory time frames more broadly and will also take more steps to reduce duplication of approvals with other departments, it said.

"Today’s announcement is a massive step forward to remove the green tape that has been holding back our industry and the State economy for years," the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) CEO Warren Pearce said.

Reforms to Australia's national environmental regulation however, have been delayed to next year.

The Grattan Institute, a think tank, estimates the critical minerals industry could add more than $400-billion to Australia's economy by 2050 with the right policy settings, a bigger contribution than the country's no. 2 export coal.

Edited by Reuters

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