Department of Mines and Petroleum Mineral Titles executive director Ivor Roberts has put the industry on notice that if it does not self-regulate the practice of data mining then legislative changes will be considered.
“The practice of data mining, where users employ special software to extract data from DMP online systems to gain an advantage in identifying expired tenements, has to stop,” Dr Roberts said.
He confirmed the department was aware of data mining of its Mineral Titles Online system, which was a breach of its terms and conditions.
“The department’s online systems are being monitored to identify data mining, and individuals and companies are notified that their accounts will be suspended if such breaches continue,” Dr Roberts said.
He said the department was introducing software and new technology to assist in the real-time identification of data mining to allow for the immediate suspension of accounts that breached the terms and conditions.
“The department prefers self-regulation of data mining, but if the practice continues individuals and companies will be prevented from accessing Mineral Titles Online, and legislative changes may be introduced,” Dr Roberts said.
His comments came just one month after prospectors who attended a department round-table in Kalgoorlie raised the topic as a major bone of contention.
Those at last month’s meeting said data scrapers who had found a keyhole into the department’s online database were able to see within seconds when mining tenements were surrendered or forfeited.
They said that by accessing data within a time frame that was unrealistic for the public to match gave bigger corporations a head start on applications and in effect an unfair advantage.