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Compliance matters

Reports put spotlight on South Australia’s resources sector.

South Australia is harnessing new aerial and satellite surveillance techniques to bolster its fight against illegal mining activity.

The use of satellite images and drones to assist in compliance activities has been outlined in the latest resource industry reports now available online – South Australia mineral resources regulation report 2017 (PDF 8.1 MB) and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 compliance report 2017 (PDF 3.1 MB).

The two reports detail the regulatory compliance and performance of South Australia’s mineral resources and petroleum and geothermal activity in 2017.

Surveillance drone. (Photo 416583)
Surveillance drone. (Photo 416583)

A satellite imagery processing system coupled with drones allows compliance officers to more readily identify unknown or unregistered activities that can’t be easily spotted from the ground. This system has quickly proven its value – picking up new instances of unauthorised mining activity that are under investigation.

Identifying illegal mining and pursuing the operators is an important part of the regulators’ work. Since 2013, the compliance team have identified unregistered and therefore illegal mining at 45 sites enabling them to take action to enforce the law.

The Department for Energy and Mining will maintain a strong presence in the regions and continue to rollout the new aerial and satellite surveillance program to support other compliance activity over operations. This program will be enhanced by camera-mounted drones to make sure the industry continues to perform at the high standards expected by the community.

Regulatory oversight

Compliance report sample pagesThe reports provide the public with an annual record of the compliance work carried out by the Department for Energy and Mining.

Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said, ‘The regulatory oversight of South Australia’s mineral resources and energy resources sectors is a significant and necessary undertaking.

‘Transparency, accountability and benchmarking are key features of South Australia’s regulatory system and the regulator delivers this through publicly available annual reports.

‘Our resource sector is an important contributor to the South Australian economy but to maintain the public’s confidence, the industry must be seen to operate in a way that is compliant with government and community expectations.’

Other highlights from the 2017 reports show:

  • A significant increase in royalty payment with more than $222 million paid by mining, oil and gas producers in 2017 compared to $199.5 million in 2016.
  • More than 600 exploration and mining inspections and 244 petroleum and geothermal site inspections, consistent with previous years.

Data for 2017 extrapolated from the reports show 92% of miners and explorers and 91% of petroleum operations sites inspected were fully compliant in meeting their obligations. All noncompliant operations have been actioned or are being rectified.

The Department for Energy and Mining works closely with the Environment Protection Authority, SafeWork SA and the Department for Environment and Water to co-regulate our important mining and petroleum sectors.

Minister van Holst Pellekaan said, ‘The documents incorporate key compliance information to assure South Australians that the resources sector is accountable to regulators, landholders and the broader community.

‘The government is committed to ensuring industry responsibly unlocks the value and opportunities of our natural resources in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.’

Access the annual regulation reports

For more information about regulatory oversight, contact:
Paul De Ionno
Deputy Director, Mining Compliance and Regulation

Michael Malavazos
Director Engineering Operations

– Published October 2018

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