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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Andrew Cripps

    Newman Government pitches in to help small miners

    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Andrew Cripps

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Newman Government pitches in to help small miners

    Queensland’s smallest mining operators will benefit from a raft of regulatory reforms designed to cut red tape for opal, sapphire, ruby and other gem stone operations.

    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said legislation introduced today in State Parliament represents the most significant reform to Queensland’s small mining industry in decades.

    “Small scale mining operations for opal, sapphire, rubies and other gem stones are an important industry for regional Queensland,” Mr Cripps said.

    “They deliver economic benefits to small towns through local employment and tourism and are the lifeblood of places like Yowah, Quilpie, Emerald, Rubyvale, Sapphire, Anakie and Winton.

    “Unfortunately, small scale miners have felt pressure from steady increases in fees, compliance costs and red tape over many years which has driven down participation in the industry.

    “The reforms I am introducing today address the concerns of small scale opal and gemstone miners and will reduce ongoing administrative processes and fees for the industry.

    “They also deliver on Premier Campbell Newman’s commitment in the Government’s Six Month Action Plan to review legislation and regulation for this small mining sector to reduce red tape.”

    Mr Cripps said key reforms proposed through the Mines and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 mean eligible small scale miners currently on a mining lease for gemstones can transition to a mining claim of up to 20 hectares for a 10 year term.

    “Small miners will also no longer have to pay annual rent for holders transitioning to a mining claim and be exempt from lodging a royalty return if under a reportable threshold.

    “This Bill will enable small scale miners to take advantage of streamlined application processes and lower application fees,” Mr Cripps said.

    They can also now conduct low risk activities that will no longer attract the additional regulatory burden of an Environmental Authority but must still comply with the general environmental duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

    Mr Cripps said the proposed reforms were the result of close cooperation between the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

    “These reforms will encourage much needed economic and job growth in rural and regional communities around Queensland.

    [ENDS] 28 November 2012

    Media contact: Jane Paterson 0417 281 754 or Paul Sutherland 0428 868 237