South Australia is fortunate to be rich in resources in a range of commodities that are of high demand on a national and global scale. Mining continues to be South Australia’s largest export group, making up over 40 per cent of the State’s total exports. The resources industry contributes to 6.7% of Gross State Product - $6.4 billion - and contributes $208 million in royalties to the State Government.
Activity in the state has increased with vigour due to the recognition of South Australia’s mineral wealth, thanks largely to proactive policies by current and previous State Governments. The exploration and mining industry in South Australia has great benefits on both an economic and social scale. The resources industry directly employs over 8,400 people with a further 20,000 employed in the wider METS sector. The industry provides training and upskilling for those employed, and supports local and new businesses in regional areas where mine sites are established. The growth in population in towns close to mine sites also provides for investment into social infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, within the community. Due to the diverse nature of the sector, it connects with and employs services from a diverse range of sectors.
The resources industry continues to be supportive of the State Government’s long standing policy of supporting and encouraging multiple land use to maximise the benefits from current and future social, economic and environmental land use interests. Due to the complex nature of resources industry projects, which often have to take into consideration multiple land uses, South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (“SACOME”) and its members are committed to the initiatives that imbed and encourage multiple and sequential land use within the South Australian Multiple Land Use Framework. Our members maintain that mining and other land uses can sustainably co-exist and are dedicated to working together with respective sectors to achieve this.
SACOME provides ongoing support to all members who are committed to community and stakeholder engagement - the Chamber has established proactive policies, including the SACOME Code of Practice for Community and Stakeholder engagement, which ensure that all members who become signatories uphold best practice methods when undertaking community engagement.
SACOME has made a number of recommendations in this submission and looks forward to continuing dialogue with the Department of State Development on these matters. SACOME will take this opportunity to emphasise that the objective of the Act and the Regulations is to allow for Mining to sustainably occur within South Australia – this should be stated within the Act. The Act and Regulations are enablers for the sector to explore and mine resources, and allow for the necessary conditions to ensure that mining activities are undertaken in appropriate responsible manner.
The recommendations follow three key themes:
- Modernisation of processes – The Act requires changes to modernise processes within it and to update or redefine sections to make the operation of the Act more efficient and clear to all stakeholders.
- Mining Lease Approvals process – SACOME seeks changes to the current Mining Lease approvals process, to make it more streamlined and workable for industry. The ML approvals process is currently inflexible and should be further developed to provide certainty through an outcomes based process.
- Access to Land – Access to Land sections within the Act require critical changes to make the provisions clearer and more defined for proponents, and to ensure that land access is efficient, effective and affordable for all parties involved.
SACOME continues to support the State Government’s strategic priority to realise the benefit of the mining industry for all South Australians, and hopes that this is reflected in the review to these key pieces of legislation. The Chamber expects further consultation with Industry on the draft amendments to the Mining Act and Mining Regulations prior to them being submitted to the Parliament for consideration and adoption.