New Victorian rules could fast track things for ‘reputable’ explorers and miners
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The Victorian government is taking a tougher stance on who it lets explore for and mine its valuable resources, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for ASX-listed companies.
Resources minister Jaclyn Symes said yesterday that a focus will be placed on explorers and miners that can prove they are “reputable, community-focused and set up appropriately for the duration of projects, including the full rehabilitation of sites around the state”.
“We’re raising the bar to make sure our mining sector employs the most qualified and reputable people to access our state’s mineral resources with a strong focus on supporting the communities they work in,” she said.
According to the Victorian government, new assessment guidelines will make sure a company’s track record, and the records of its directors and executives, are examined when considering licensing decisions.
The new guidelines are designed to provide greater assurance for farmers and communities that public safety, infrastructure and the environment will be protected when explorers and miners work on both private and public land.
Symes said the changes would also benefit the resources sector by providing upfront and consistent information about how mining licence applications were assessed, “making it easier for people with a good track record to apply”.
Industry advocate the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) is on board with the proposed new rules.
“Setting clear and consistent guidelines upfront to assess whether a person is fit and proper to hold a licence helps to protect good operators and build community confidence,” said Les Cox, state manager for AMEC.
MineLife director and senior resources analyst Gavin Wendt told Stockhead the move could improve things, including potentially fast-tracking exploration permits, for reputable companies.
“I think if you’re a reputable company that’s done the right thing in the past then it sounds like you’re not going to have anything to fear by this legislation,” he said.
“In fact, your opportunity to do business is probably going to be enhanced because one of the key things, according to what these guidelines say, is that your prior operating track record will be a major factor in the approvals process.
“So if you’ve got a good track record that’ll help you stand out against perhaps your peers who in the past haven’t done a very good job, that could well accelerate the process of granting for the better, more responsible companies.”
Another benefit of the proposed new rules is it could help make negotiations with landowners a lot easier.
“Sometimes farmers will have had instances in the past where proper care and attention hasn’t been taken by the companies that access their ground,” Wendt said.
“So anything that provides comfort for landowners around stringent criteria, is good for both parties. The companies know where they stand, farmers know where they stand.
“That should remove any potential grey areas in terms of apprehension on the part of farmers.”
The changes are part of the process for assessing potential licensees for the Stavely ground release in western Victoria and the Lockington ground release in northern Victoria later this year.
Victoria’s Labor government promised explorers in late October last year that it would release more land for gold exploration if it retained power.
Melbourne is the headquarters for some of the world’s biggest miners – BHP (ASX:BHP), MMG (ASX:MMG), OceanaGold (ASX:OGC), Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM), Alumina (ASX:AWC), St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Orica (ASX:ORI), as well as Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) Asia Pacific regional headquarters.
There are also nearly 30 small cap explorers active in Victoria.
Here’s a list of small cap stocks with projects in Victoria, courtesy of leading ASX data provider MakCorp
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The new Lockington land release is 45km north of the Kirkland Lake Gold’s (ASX:KLA) operating Fosterville mine and 60km northeast of Bendigo.
Meanwhile, Stavely is located in Saint Arnaud, 244km north of Melbourne, and is prospective for gold, copper and other base metals.