Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said Programme of Work (PoW) applications were up by 50 per cent since January, and in May the 366 applications was up 80 per cent on the monthly average.
“The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) receives, on average, 200 applications each month and so far in 2018 it has received an average 300 applications, a clear indication that mineral exploration activity is on the rise,” Mr Johnston said.
Mr Johnston cautioned that the increase in PoW applications is putting pressure on the government’s approval processing targets, meaning there may be a slight delay in processing times.
DMIRS’ target is to process 80 per cent of applications received within 30 business days, and it is currently finalising 83 per cent of applications within the target timeline for the April quarter.
“Plans are in place to address the additional applications and the department will continue to process in order of the date received to ensure applicants are treated fairly, Mr Johnston said.
“The Programme of Work figures are very encouraging and represent the buoyant nature of the minerals exploration sector in Western Australia, and the strong economic impact this will have. The McGowan Government is a strong supporter of mining and resources exploration, and I’m pleased to see that things continue to improve in the sector.”