13 July The States continue to invest in the industry July 13, 2021 By AMPLA Admin Resources and Energy Article, Recovery, Invest, Covid-19 recovery 0 As a testament to the importance of the energy and resources industry to the economy and job growth, State governments continue to invest in the industry as part of their COVID-19 recovery plans The States continue to invest in the industry As a testament to the importance of the energy and resources industry to the economy and job growth, State governments continue to invest in the industry as part of their COVID-19 recovery plans. Queensland has led the charge announcing a $2 billion Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund. The Fund will support the development of the resources sector while helping Queensland to reach its target of 50% renewable energy by 2030. As its name suggests, the focus of the Fund is on creating jobs while continuing to develop pathways for clean energy. With the International Energy Agency forecasting demand for clean energy minerals quadrupling by 2040, Queensland wants to ensure it maximises its opportunities. It has highlighted cobalt, copper, scandium, vanadium, bauxite and alumina as key resources required to power batteries, electric vehicles and solar panels. The State already has significant investments in these areas - in 2020 it produced 220,500 tonnes of copper - but new opportunities continue to emerge. The Queensland Government has also opened up the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan for consultation. The industry employs 71,000 people and communities and businesses are all invited to provide their input into the plan. It is expected that a draft plan will be released later in the year. Western Australia already has in place several significant initiatives to develop the resources sector, but it continues to expand its commitment to the industry. The Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia has opened up its Net Zero Emission Mining challenge with $1 million to develop new ways of working and transform how energy is generated and used. There are three areas of focus for the challenge; data-driven challenges, mining and processing technology and energy utilisation. The Western Australian Government has invested a further $500,000 to the CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow program. This is a free program that encourages small to medium businesses to develop solutions for zero emission mining. Grants of up to $50,000 match funding provided by the private sector towards research. Taking a different approach, Victoria is set to restart the onshore conventional gas industry. It is important to note that this will not include fracking or coal seam gas, both of which are now illegal in Victoria. For the past three years the State’s onshore petroleum regulatory framework has been reviewed by the Victorian Gas Program and found that the industry will not adversely affect Victoria’s environment or agriculture industry. The industry is expected to deliver significant jobs growth to Gippsland and South West Victoria. Interim regulations extend previous provisions and a new regulatory framework is now underway. This will guide explorers and developers on how to engage the community in their project plans. Earth Resources Regulation has already inspected existing onshore conventional gas sites to ensure they are compliant with existing safeguards. In addition, the Victorian Government has provided Earth Resources Regulation with $10.6 million to ensure mineral exploration applications are delivered in a timely and efficient manner and enable legislative and regulatory improvements. A further $13.4 million has been provided to the Geological Survey of Victoria to attract new investment and demand for minerals. South Australia is focused on opportunities in critical minerals by pledging $4.5 million to the Accelerated Discovery Initiative. This will be used to fund a wide range of projects from drilling and exploration to logistics and indigenous employment. The projects support activities and innovative technologies to generate and test new exploration ideas and accelerate data sets to enable data sharing in the sector. It also aims to foster meaningful employment of indigenous Australians and ensure they play a larger role in the effort to decarbonise the industry. These initiatives all play an important role in increasing opportunities in the sector for both individuals and business alike. Related Articles COMMUNITY LEGAL RIGHTS IN MINE CLOSURE PLANNING; A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THREE AUSTRALIAN STATES Professor Alex Gardner, University of Western Australia Law School, and Laura Hamblin, formerly research associate at the UWA Law School, 2021 Why does the Mining Act 1978 (WA) not provide secure legal rights for community consultation in relation to mining lease proposals and mine closure plans? Addressing this question presents an important theme for this comparative review of some core features of the regulatory frameworks for mine closure in three Australian States. It also raises important questions for future legal research. Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria have prominent but vastly different, and thus uniquely significant, mining industries. Western Australia’s mining industry has a long history of large and smaller scale mining of a diverse range of minerals by various methods that pose significant mine rehabilitation challenges.[i] Queensland’s mining industry is similarly large and diverse, dominated by export coal production, and planning future minerals development in a decarbonising world.[ii] Victoria has a smaller mining industry with a large historical legacy dominated by a coal mining industry for domestic electricity generation in the Latrobe Valley, which is closing as the State actively transitions to renewable power sources.[iii] These States also have significant differences in the regulation of their mining industries. What all three States do have in common is the significance of their mining industries to both the State economy and the communities who depend on or live near mining operations. Importantly, all three States are confronting large legal and regulatory challenges in managing mine rehabilitation and closure. The key to addressing these challenges is effective mine closure planning: the closure of a mine site has ripple effects that are not merely environmental and economic, but social and cultural too. The initial approval of a mine closure plan occurs before any mining has begun and, with the life cycle of a mine often spanning decades, regulatory bodies are approving hypothetical closure scenarios, potentially subject to vast changes. Regulatory bodies may then seek to enforce closure requirements enshrined in a plan that may wane in relevance as mining operations progress, the updating of which may depend on the miner. Yet remedying the regulatory system so that it creates adaptable but consistently effective mine closure outcomes for affected communities still begins at planning. Although that planning is an iterative process across the life of the mine, it is very important at the initial stage of approval. Recent legislative reforms in all three States are adding to the regulatory rigour and adaptability of mine closure planning, though there are very different legal requirements for community consultation. This article aims to explain and assess the regulatory reforms by undertaking a comparative analysis of mine closure planning across Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria, with a focus on the initial approval stage and how stakeholders and communities are brought into that process. The facilitation of continuous and comprehensive community engagement is critical to ensuring that mine closure planning accounts for environmental, economic, social, cultural and safety outcomes after mine closure, but it has not been possible to consider here the process of ongoing mine closure planning, especially for amending mine closure plans and determining satisfaction of mine closure plans leading to resource tenure relinquishment.[iv] The article begins by considering core concepts of mine closure planning and the regulatory goals that inform it. It then provides a comparative overview of each State’s mine closure planning requirements under the mineral resources, environmental and land use planning laws and draws out some of the different regulatory structures and processes for mine closure within each State. The third step in our analysis compares the ways in which those laws provide for local communities’ participation in mine closure planning, with specific attention to whether the regulatory provisions create legally enforceable rights for effective community engagement. The article concludes with a summary of the key points from the discussion of three themes in our analysis: (i) the importance of clear definitions of core concepts and key goals, (ii) mine closure planning as an essential part of a mining proposal, and (iii) the legal definition of community engagement and consultation rights. Mine closure planning and implementation is necessarily influenced by many other spheres of law including taxation law, investment law, water law, and the rights of traditional owners, to name a few. A potentially directly relevant Commonwealth law is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), which may require environmental impact assessment of a mining proposal and closure plan and lead to approval conditions supplementing State requirements.[v] Whilst acknowledging the importance of these adjacent spheres of the regulatory frameworks for effective mine closure planning, this article does not attempt to address their impact. In particular, the rights of Traditional Custodians are a crucial part of mine closure planning that are only briefly noted here and that would benefit from future research. WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Major Commodities Review 2022-23”. Qld Government, Department of Resources, Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan, June 022. Vic Government, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy. See L Hamblin, A Gardner, Y Haigh, Mapping the Regulatory Framework of Mine Closure, May 2022, CRC TiME, for a broader exploration of the full life cycle of mine closure regulation. In Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities  FCAFC 111; (2013) 214 FCR 301, , -, referring to the range of approval conditions, which included mine closure. In setting conditions under the EPBC Act, the Commonwealth Minister must consider any relevant conditions under State or Territory law: at  citing Lansen v Minister for Environment and Heritage (2008) 174 FCR 14. Submission - DISER Consultation Paper December 2020 ‘Enhancing Australia’s decommissioning framework for offshore oil and gas activities’ How foreign investment changes may impact the mining and energy sector In early June 2020, the government announced a review of the foreign investment rules, expanding them to apply to all foreign investors in anything deemed a ‘sensitive national security business’. The changes are scheduled to come into effect on 1 January 2021. There are concerns that this will impact foreign investment in the mining and energy sectors, and in particular the critical minerals space. ARELJ - Article - Foreign Investors' Increasing Awareness of Investor-State Arbitration – View from Australia ARELJ Recent Development- Electricity Infrastructure Investment ACT 2020 (NSW): Key Provisions and Legal Issues for Project Investors to Consider What the FIRB? An update on Australia’s foreign investment rules for energy and resources Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.