Take care when commencing an application for forfeiture of a mining tenement under the Mining Act 1978 (WA)

In Steele v Dickson [2017] WAMW 1 the warden dismissed two applications for forfeiture summarily.

In this matter, Warden Maughan was asked to summarily dismiss two applications for forfeiture in respect of the same prospecting licence.

The Warden dismissed the first application because the fee on lodging the application had not been paid. Apparently the mining registrar in Leonora had refused payment by the applicant and purported to waive the prescribed fee. The Warden concluded that neither a warden or a mining registrar had power to waive the fee and as the application had not been lodged “in the prescribed manner”, by the payment of the prescribed fee, the application was a nullity.

The Warden dismissed the second application because it had been lodged outside of the 8 month limitation period prescribed by s96 (a) of the Mining Act 1978 (WA). The Warden considered that because of the words “and not otherwise” in s 96(2a) he did not have the power to extend the period pursuant to s162B.

It is interesting to note that the words “and not otherwise” do not appear in s98 which relates to applications for forfeiture of exploration licences and mining leases. That would suggest that the 8 month limitation period under s98 made be able to be extended pursuant to s162B.

There is currently a proposal to reduce the 8 month limitation period to 3 months. Perhaps the legislature should take the opportunity to clarify whether the proposed 3 month limitation period is capable of being extended.