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Dr Natalie Brown

Lecturer, University of Western Australia Law School

The research presented in this article was supported by CRC TiME. The content of the article is a revised version of a report for the CRC. The support of the Australian Government through the Cooperative Research Centre Program is acknowledged. The article is current to August 2023.

This article discusses mine closure regulation under the Western Australian State agreement regime; specifically, Pilbara iron ore mines authorised by State agreements. Not all Pilbara agreement mines are subject to Western Australia’s legislative mine closure requirements. Pilbara agreement mines are only subject to mine closure planning requirements in three situations: if the Environment Minister has imposed an implementation condition following an environmental impact assessment under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA); the Mining Act 1978 (WA) applies to the mine; or an agreement term imposes an obligation to do so. Some Pilbara mines slip through these regulatory gaps because of the unique interaction of State agreements with other legislation. While the focus of this article is on the Pilbara agreement mines, the same propositions apply to all mines authorised by State agreements in Western Australia.

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