Community engagement

Mitsui E&P Australia (MEPAU) engages extensively, especially with the local community. We hold community information meetings, place advertisements in the local paper before and after each meeting, send letters containing project information direct to local residents and respond promptly to any enquiries we receive.

During recent projects, we have held numerous discussions with the local shires so that community leaders are aware of our plans. We’ve also established a dedicated Mid West website so people can access relevant local information.

To further increase the level of engagement between MEPAU and local residents of the Shire of Irwin, the company sponsors an independently facilitated Community Roundtable.

This group operates independently of MEPAU, although the company does provide information specifically requested by the group and, like a number of other stakeholders, including regulators and subject matter experts, participates in the group by invitation. The roundtable workshops are held in response to local residents’ preferences.

MEPAU believes community and stakeholder engagement is part of an ongoing process with the local communities in which it operates. Further engagement is planned as we finalise forward exploration and development plans.

Dongara football

Engaging local landowners and traditional owners

MEPAU engages with local landowners and traditional owners from the outset to understand requirements and mitigate any impacts that might occur as a result of exploration and development activities.

Land which MEPAU proposes to access for exploration and/or development often has the following characteristics:

  • Has been both a family home and a farm business for a long time
  • Involves landowners and local community who may not be familiar with the resources sector approvals processes, regulations and management practices
  • Located where local community perception may be influenced by uncertainty and unpredictability as well as concern with potential impacts of proposed developments

MEPAU is aware of these factors and that understanding each other and communicating effectively is key to successful coexistence.

Engaging local landowners

What happens when drilling occurs on a landowner’s property?

MEPAU understands that by undertaking exploration or development activities on an agricultural property there may be a disruption to cropping or grazing programs. We seek to minimise any disruption and fairly compensate landowners.

MEPAU is a significant landowner in the Shire of Irwin and is committed to upholding and improving the agricultural productivity of land it owns and also develops.

Where activities are located on land owned by others, MEPAU negotiates voluntary land access agreements with landowners on the relevant property where the drilling is taking place. With most of our drilling locations situated on land previously cleared for agricultural use, we rarely need to clear any native vegetation. Once we are no longer using a site, we rehabilitate the area as agreed with the landowner.

Senecio 3 well on Irwin Park Farm
Senecio-3 Appraisal Well located amidst Irwin Park Farm

What is the expected process once a voluntary land access agreement has been made?

MEPAU liaises routinely with landowners to help minimise any disruption. Prior to any clearing or site activities, the project specific Environment Plan, which addresses rehabilitation requirements, is reviewed and assessed by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).

The rehabilitation requirements are based on results of environmental studies undertaken to establish baseline conditions. The land is rehabilitated under regulations established by the DMP and in consultation with the landowner until agreed completion criteria have been achieved.

Traditional Owner engagement

MEPAU consults with traditional owners through its comprehensive stakeholder engagement program. The key issues raised during our discussions have been support for traditional owners’ businesses as well as training and employment opportunities.

During the project planning phase, traditional owners are routinely consulted about any heritage values in the project area and are then engaged to monitor early ground works and help further ensure conservation of any heritage values.

What is the area of ground disturbance and clearance used to drill a well?

The ground disturbance area is minimised and usually takes place in an area which has been previously cleared for agricultural purposes. Generally, the ground disturbance is required for constructing an access road, water bore access and the well pad which typically results in a total footprint between 3-5 hectares in size of which the well pad is about 1.8ha.

Post-drilling, the area used for a producing well typically reduces to the fenced off wellhead area.

Examples of Coexistence – Exploration and Development


  • Exploration and development occurring in the Shire of Irwin since the 1960s gives an ongoing local presence
  • Local residents and Shire are generally more familiar with the oil and gas sector, MEPAU and the whole of government regulatory approach than some other neighbouring shires

Stakeholder Engagement we undertake involves:

  • Liaising routinely with landowners on whose land we operate
  • Promptly responding to one-on-one enquiries or information requests
  • Holding independently facilitated Community Roundtable workshops
  • Hosting site tours to discuss and see first-hand the management practices used
  • Sponsoring and partnering with various organisations including the Mingenew Irwin Group, various sporting clubs and local educational institutions
Waitsia Gas Project Stage 1A coexisting with agricultural activities
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Shire of Irwin Community Roundtable in progress

Community roundtable notes

All the notes from previous community roundtable workshops are available for download. Learn more about how to access the community roundtable workshop notes

Community Commitment

Community Commitment

Mitsui E&P Australia contributes more than $7 million a year to the Mid West economy. Read about our commitment to the Mid West region.


Community initiatives

We support the local community by partnering with organisations or local not-for-profit groups to provide better services for locally driven initiatives. Learn more about our community initiatives.

The Northern Perth Basin

The northern Perth Basin is a prolific oil and gas producing area covering a large portion of the Mid West region of Western Australia. The town of Dongara, located approximately 360km north of Perth, is the regional economic hub for a number of energy industries.