Still Waters Run Deep: The 1963-64 Pilbara Iron Ore State Agreements and Rights to Mine Dewatering

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Abstract

Since the early 1960s, iron ore mining in Western Australia has been governed by state agreements, which are confidential and protected by the state’s “sovereign risk” policy. In the drafting of these agreements, the growth in
mining and the changes in technology that have transformed the industry were not foreseen: nor were modern attitudes to water use, in particular the development of nationally consistent guidelines for water use planning (the
National Water Initiative), foreseen. This article traces the history of the Pilbara state agreements, and outlines how the industry has developed under their auspices. It then considers the relationship between the State agreements’
water rights provisions and the environmental protection legislation, and discusses the issues that may affect statutory reform.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalAustralian Resources and Energy Law Journal
Volume35
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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