Miners in Western Australia are poised to receive further relief from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with the state government reducing the Mines Safety Levy by 20 per cent from July 1.

The levy, which funds safety and health regulatory services for the state’s mining industry, will be reduced from 21c per billable hour to 17c.

Billable hours are based on the number of hours worked by workers at a mine site over the financial year.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston says the reduction in the mine safety levy will help support mining companies and that the state would continue to work with industry to identify further ways to assist miners.

The levy reduction was welcomed by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), which said that it would provide a small cost reduction for companies when it was most needed.

AMEC noted that the levy had fluctuated considerably over the last 10 years since it was introduced in 2010, with a notable 30 per cent increase rate in 2017-18 being due to the Levy Trust Fund being in considerable debt.

“This change will not impact the ability of the department to carry out its critical role as a safety regulator, and our industry remains 100 per cent committed to ensuring that all our operations maintain the highest safety standards,” AMEC chief executive officer Warren Pearce said.

The levy reduction follows the Western Australian government move to offer junior explorers exemptions from exploration expenditure requirements in late March.

More broadly, the Australian government earlier this month offered offshore oil and gas explorers a simplified application process to suspend and extend existing work programs, as well as further flexibility to be applied to well expectations in the renewal of exploration permits.