According to MiningWeekly.com, the government of Queensland, Australia, is looking to reduce regulatory burdens and operating costs for mining companies by establishing a Cabinet committee aimed at “clearing project approval backlogs.”
While the move’s benefits may to some degree be counterbalanced by controversial plans to hike coal royalties, cutting red tape and minimizing permitting delays will likely be a boon to Queensland’s economy.
Already Australia is known to have the one of the shortest permitting processes to bring new mines online among the 25 leading mining nations, as surveyed by the authoritative Behre Dolbear “Where not to Invest” report, while the United States – with an average permitting time of seven to ten years – has the dubious honor of being tied for last place with Papua New Guinea for permitting process length. In contrast, Australia’s review time ranges between one and a half to two years.
In all likelihood, the move on the part of the Queensland government will give Australia an even bigger competitive edge over other nations – including the United States – in attracting new mining investment, which in turn will help create jobs and fuel the local and national economies.
On this side of the Pacific, measures that would help the United States move up in the comparative rankings by cutting red tape and streamlining the mining permitting process are readily available and even pending in Congress – but, unfortunately, many of our elected officials have yet to realize the urgency of getting off the starting block as the global race for resources is in full swing.