Legislative fix required after High Court casts doubt on the validity of Mining Leases

Retrospective legislation to address the recent High Court decision on the validity of numerous granted mining leases is critical in providing certainty to the industry, according to The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME).

CME welcomed today’s announcement by the State Government that it was considering amending the Mining Act 1978 (WA) after a majority of the High Court ruled a mineralisation report must be lodged at the same time as the application for a mining lease in order to be a valid application. 

In the absence of a valid application, subsequent acts (e.g. grant of a mining lease) are also invalid. 

CME Acting Chief Executive Nicole Roocke said retrospective legislation would provide much needed certainty for mining projects potentially affected by the High Court’s decision.

“Security of tenure is a fundamental principle of the Mining Act and the High Court has cast enough doubt to make such a legislative fix necessary.

“Once drafted, CME will be encouraging the Parliament to consider this legislation as a matter of highest priority and for it to proceed with bi-partisan support.”

The High Court’s ruling applies only to mining lease applications post-2006.  The provisions requiring a mineralisation report to be lodged with a mining lease application commenced on 10 February 2006.

Ms Roocke said the certainty the State Government was looking to provide the industry in relation to mining leases should extend to maintaining current royalty rates in this week’s State Budget. Any increase in rates would jeopardise exploration and investment in WA and would return little benefit to the State given the GST system.