The State Government granted the highest number of mining tenement applications in more than a decade in the last financial year.
Resources Minister Francis Logan said 4,675 mining tenement applications were granted in 2007-08, the highest number since 1993-94.
“This is an excellent result, considering assessment of tenement applications since 1993-94 have included processing under the Native Title Act,” Mr Logan said.
“The approval of such a large number of tenements has contributed to a 20 per cent reduction in the backlog of applications awaiting determination, which now stands at 14,700.”
The Minister said the State Government remained on track to meet its target of reducing the backlog to 5,000 by 2010.
“We have managed to reduce the backlog despite receiving 4,140 tenement applications during the year - about 1,000 more than we predicted,” he said.
“This is a credit to those people working on tenement applications at the Department of Industry and Resources and I congratulate them on their efforts.”
Mr Logan said recent amendments to the Mining Act had trebled the amount of land available for exploration.
There were now a record 21,000 mining tenements currently in force in Western Australia, covering a record 58.7 million hectares. Exploration licences accounted for most of this land (51.7 million hectares).
The Minister said the backlog of tenement applications peaked at 18,700 in February 2007 and the State Government allocated $3.5million to help reduce it.
“I set the target to reduce the backlog to 5,000 applications within three years of allocating this funding,” he said.
“With the number of tenement applications granted this year, I am confident that figure remains achievable.”
Minister's office: 9222 8950