South Australian landholders, miners butt heads over recommendation for mining ombudsman

Rural landholders have welcomed a South Australian parliamentary inquiry’s recommendation for the institution of a mining ombudsman.

A cross-party committee chaired by unbiased Frome MP Geoff Brock held an inquiry into the protections for landholders when a mining firm desires entry to their property.

After hearings on the Eyre and Yorke peninsulas, the committee made six suggestions together with the institution of a mining ombudsman’s workplace to implement present laws and develop a brand new code of conduct for exploration.

“At this stage, there is no independent umpire that a landowner can really go to if things don’t go right,” Yorke Peninsula Landowners Group chair Joy Wundersitz mentioned.

Yorke Peninsula landholders line the Yorke Highway at Pine Point.
The Yorke Peninsula has been the scene of protests towards mining and exploration.(ABC North and West: Lauren Waldhuter)

The committee additionally really useful that work start on creating standalone laws to control entry to non-public land by mining corporations, separate to the Mining Act.

“We’ve been arguing for some time that adequate protection of agricultural land cannot be achieved through a mining act, because a mining act is there to push and protect mining,” Ms Wundersitz mentioned.

“By developing a standalone piece of legislation, similar to Queensland and New South Wales, it balances up the debate.

“So there can be a mining act to guard agricultural land … and there would even be a separate piece of laws that might look primarily and really intently at how to make sure that priceless agricultural land is protected nicely into the longer term.”

Dan van Holst Pellekaan wearing a white helmet and orange vest
Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan.(ABC News)

Government agrees reform wanted

Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan told parliament on Thursday the government had been open about the need for more reforms in that area.

“We have constantly mentioned that we might make enhancements, primarily in bite-sized chunks, to cope with what might be handled, put it in place after which transfer on and cope with the following set,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan mentioned.

The government reviewed and updated its mining regulations and legislation last year.

Minerals ‘belong to the community’

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies defended the right of miners to seek permission to mine or explore on private property.

“I do not know you essentially want to ascertain one other organisation to tackle a main position of presidency,” chief executive Warren Pearce said. 

“I feel the division [of mining] can definitely undertake that position successfully, and I feel we want a bit little bit of time to evaluate how the brand new laws’s working.

A proposed copper and iron ore mine is causing controversy on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula
Mining corporations say landholders do not personal sources under the bottom.(ABC North and West: Lauren Waldhuter)

“They belong to the state and the group and there needs to be a possibility to discover for them to see if worth might be created and alternatives, each financial and employment alternatives, might be created for the broader group.”

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