One of the conditions on titles is that title holders must undertake community consultation according to the guidelines set out by the Division of Resources and Energy (DRE).

The DRE has recently reviewed its Guidelines for Community Consultation Requirements for Exploration and the associated community consultation reporting information.

The Exploration Code of Practice: Community Consultation was published on 1 March 2016 and is applied by a condition on titles issued after this time. The Code was developed after extensive public and industry consultation.

Key highlights

The Code:

  • requires community consultation to be adequate, inclusive and appropriate, and be undertaken in an open and accountable way
  • provides detailed requirements relating to the development of a community consultation strategy
  • requires the type and scale of consultation to correspond with the activity impact level (an assessment tool is provided to determine the impact level)
  • incorporates detailed guidelines on the minimum requirements for the Annual Community Consultation Report (these are also supported by Community Consultation Plan provisions which outline the content of a plan, and its benefit in informing the annual reporting requirements).

Consultation on the Code

The Exploration Code of Practice: Community Consultation was developed after extensive consultation with industry and community stakeholders. This included a 7 week period of public exhibition, and notification to over 2500 stakeholders.

A report on the public exhibition process of the Code has been prepared to detail how the community consultation was undertaken, and the amendments that were made to the Code in response to submissions. The report includes a detailed table outlining the issues raised by submissions, and providing a response to the issues indicating where amendments were made, or why no changes were considered appropriate.

New requirements for minerals exploration

The community consultation conditions on new minerals titles have been amended to be consistent with those for coal and petroleum.

Minerals explorers will need to comply with the new Code and be aware that:

  • where the mineral exploration project is a low impact activity,  new community consultation requirements under the Code will be no more onerous than the existing requirements
  • where the activity is of greater impact, then additional community consultation will be required, proportional to the impact and in keeping with those required for other resources.