GPSA Update: Mining Act Review

Oct 12, 2017

It has now been more than 12 months since the Department of State Development (DSD), Mineral Resources Division commenced its review of the Mining Act 1971 as part of the ‘Leading Practice Mining Acts Review’.

Member surveys by Grain Producers SA have shown that more than 70 percent of growers are concerned about the impacts of alternate land uses, such as mining, on the grains industry as a whole.

From the start of the review, GPSA has sought a fairer and more open and transparent system for farmers that includes a review of the process by which mining exploration is allowed, the process for granting exemptions, the rights of the landowners, the consultation process and compensation process not only for those immediately affected but also the near neighbours.

GPSA has been vocal in its views that the review should be conducted by an independent panel rather than DSD, which is both the SA mining industry’s regulator and promoter, or at the very least have an independent arbitrator. GPSA also worked to have the original deadline for the consultation period extended beyond December 2016 - during one the SA’s largest grain harvests - and was successful in the new closing date of February 2017 and then again out to March 2017. GPSA wrote to Premier Jay Weatherill highlighting these issues and outlined further impacts of mining on the grains industry, as outlined in GPSA’s mining policy.

GPSA conducted a series of consultation meetings in January and February 2017 with Livestock SA in which producer feedback was sought on the impacts of mining on their property, community and the wider industry. More than 200 growers and community members attended these meetings, which were held at Wudinna, Cummins, Maitland and Murray Bridge.

GPSA used the feedback from these meetings to develop its own submission to the Review which sought the following changes to the Mining Act 1971:

  • Landholders should have the right of veto, so new exploration or a mine cannot proceed without the approval of the landowner.
  • All court costs and other costs incurred by the landowner should be met by the miner and the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) Court should remain the preferred court of dispute for cases between mining companies and landowners.
  • Mining companies should pay an uplift above market rates of at least three times the market value for the property. Landowners of adjacent land who believe their properties will be devalued should also be compensated.
  • A proportion of royalties over and above the state’s allocation should be given back to the community based on the economic value of the land. This would recognise the productive capacity of the land that will be lost and acknowledge the investment made by the community in establishing and maintaining infrastructure.
  • There should be enforceable timeframes for mines to be up and running with no extensions, giving landowners certainty to develop or exit their businesses.
  • The required Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) should be broadened to include a social, environmental and economic assessment which considers the impacts on the business and community.
  • The compliance powers of government should be increased to compel mining companies to meet their obligations, funded by the miners on a cost-recovery basis.

A number of GPSA’s members developed their own submissions to the review, Review, detailing their personal concerns towards the Mining Acts. Over 55 percent of the submissions received by the Department came from landowners or farming representative bodies.

Since the period for submissions ended in March the process has been slow. The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) hosted two workshops with key stakeholder groups from the mining and primary industries sectors on the 28 August and 4 September, which GPSA attended to represent the views of members.

GPSA has requested, but not yet received, the minutes from both workshops. GPSA has also stated that it needs to consult with its Board and members and will not be endorsing any recommendations from DSD or DPC without doing so.

On 8 September, DSD released its Fast Facts – Benefits for All document, which detailed 82 recommendations for the Mining Act legislation. DPC is seeking response/endorsement of the recommendations produced in the Benefits for All paper and further engagement on further consultation with members and other stakeholders.

On 19 September, GPSA met with other key environmental stakeholders to discuss issues of mutual concern with the process to date and the 82 recommendations with the aim of preparing a joint response to DPC covering our key mutual concerns.

At a GPSA Board meeting on 21 September, DPC presented on progress to date and GPSA raised its key issues of concern with the process and the draft recommendations. 

On 26 September GPSA provided a response to DPC on the 82 recommendations outlining its concerns with the process, the fact that it is unable to endorse the recommendations without the GPSA Board and members seeing the draft legislation first and that its considers that the legislation should be dealt with as one - not split, as currently proposed. 

On 27 September, GPSA was a co-signatory to a letter with PPSA, Livestock SA, the Environmental Defenders Office, The Conservation Council of SA and the Wilderness Society which again outlined landowner issues and the issues of the environmental groups that still need addressing.

GPSA has encouraged DPC to run updates on the Mining Act Review process for landowners throughout rural SA. DPC is running ‘drop in’ sessions in regional SA throughout October and November. Dates, times and locations can be found on the GPSA events page.

GPSA has and continues to outlay a lot of money and resources into achieving the best outcomes for its members as part of the Mining Act Review.

Key announcements and dates:

  • 27/9/2016: SA Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) media release welcomes the review of the Mining Acts.
  • 27/9/2016: Minister Koutsantonis announces the review into the Mining Acts. He announced the three Acts were being reviewed and would be released in late October/early November.
  • 28/9/2016: GPSA media release cautiously welcomes the review but seeks further details on the process.
  • 1/10/2016: DSD and YourSAy website details the five-week consultation period for each discussion paper.
  • 20/10/2016: GPSA Agricultural Security and Priority subcommittee meeting – requested DSD to attend but they were unavailable.
  • 25/10/2016: GPSA sent a letter to the Premier calling for an extension to the timeframe for submissions and for the review to be conducted by an independent body.
  • 9/11/2016: GPSA media release calls for the extension and an independent review. David Ridgway MLC also puts out a similar media release and both receive extensive coverage in Advertiser, Stock Journal.
  • 16/11/2016: PPSA/GPSA and all commodity groups met with DSD to discuss the review and the process/timing.
  • 17/11/2016: The first Discussion Paper was released into the Mines and Works Inspection Act 1920.  Deadline for submissions set at 21 December 2016.
  • 28/11/2016: GPSA seeks a meeting with Minister Koutsantonis.
  • 29/11/2016: Minister Koutsantonis announces that the deadline for submissions on all three Acts would be extended to 24 February 2017.
  • 5/12/2016: DSD invited to be part of GPSA Grower Meetings in January/February 2017.
  • 7/12/2016: DSD wrote to GPSA seeking comments/quotes for inclusion in the Mining Act discussion paper. GPSA declined to comment as it had not seen the discussion paper.
  • 13/12/2016: GPSA again seeks a meeting with Minister Koutsantonis.
  • 15/12/2016: GPSA again seeks a meeting with Minister Koutsantonis.
  • 15/12/2016: GPSA extends an invitation to DSD to be a part of the GPSA Grower Meetings.
  • 31/1/2017-3/2/2017: GPSA hosts a series of Grower Meetings across SA with over 200 growers in attendance and DSD staff including:
    • 31 January – Wudinna (morning session) and Cummins (afternoon session).
    • 2 February – Maitland (morning session)
    • 3 February – Murray Bridge (morning session)
  • 02/02/2017: GPSA met with Minister Koutsantonis and Mark Parnell MLC seperately.
  • 7/02/2017: GPSA meeting with Robert Brokenshire MLC.
  • 10/3/2017: GPSA CEO Darren Arney, board member Andrew Goode and policy officer Trudy Huczko meet with Mellor Olsson and Pat Amey to discuss GPSA draft submission and seek legal advice. 
  • 30/3/2017-31/3/2017: GPSA Board meeting discussed draft GPSA submission.
  • 31/3/2017: GPSA submission was endorsed and sent to DSD Review Team.
  • 31/3/2017 – ongoing: GPSA seeks to raise profile of issue through media releases, radio interviews, and local stories, such as the Veitch’s.
  • 27/4/2017: GPSA requests a meeting with Steven Griffiths MP, Robert Brokenshire MLC, Mark Parnell MLC, Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP, Senator Nick Xenophon and Rebekha Sharkie MP.
  • 16/05/2017: GPSA meeting with Robert Brokenshire MLC.
  • 1/6/17: Senator Xenophon referred meeting request to John Darley as the State sitting member.
  • 5/6/2017: John Darley declined to meet until the draft legislation is before Parliament. Other Members of Parliament also defer comment until release of the draft legislation.
  • 10/6/2017: Fast Fact Update, 20 Fast Facts Policy papers, Compliance in the Regions and all submissions released on the DSD website.
  • 22/6/2017: GPSA Board meeting discussed process and key submission points.
  • 28/06/2017: GPSA meeting with Mark Parnell MLC.
  • 9/8/2017: GPSA meeting with DPC Review Team.
  • 9/08/2017: GPSA meeting with Shadow Minister for Energy and Mining Dan Van Holst Pellekaan.
  • 23/8/2017: GPSA meeting with PPSA.
  • 28/8/2017: Stakeholder Workshop 1 – Workshop hosted by DPC with GPSA, Livestock SA, PPSA, SACOME and other mining industry stakeholders.
  • 4/9/2017: Stakeholder Workshop 2.
  • 8/9/2017: DSD Fast Facts Document – Benefits for All released.
  • 12/9/2017: Stakeholder engagement meeting with DPC and Environmental groups.
  • 19/9/2017: GPSA meeting with environmental stakeholders.
  • 21/9/2017: DPC attends GPSA Board meeting.
  • 9/10/2017: GPSA participates in roundtable discussion convened by DPC.

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