Under Section 61(2) of the Mining Act 1978 the holder of an exploration licence may apply to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum prior to the expiry date to extend the term of the licence beyond its initial five year term if satisfied that a prescribed ground under Regulation 23AB of the Regulations exist. Section 61(3) keeps the licence in force until an extension application is determined.
Exploration licences applied for or granted prior to 10 February 2006 have an initial period of five years and can then be extended for:
- one period of one or two years
- one further period of one or two years
- in exceptional circumstances by a further period of one year.
Exploration licences applied for and granted after 10 February 2006 have an initial period of five years and can then be extended for:
- one period of five years
- further periods of two years.
The holder has to provide detailed information in support of the application.
Prescribed grounds under the Regulations
Extensions of term can be granted where the Minister for Mines and Petroleum is satisfied that a prescribed ground exists and each of the following is a ground for extension under Regulation 23AB for the purposes of section 61(2):
- exploration, or the marking out and application for a mining lease or general purpose lease in relation to the land the subject of the licence, could not be undertaken because of difficulties or delays:
- occasioned by law
- arising from administrative, political, environmental or other requirements of governmental or other authorities, in the State or elsewhere; or
- arising from a requirement to conduct an Aboriginal heritage survey on the land; or
- obtaining requisite consents or approvals for exploration or for the marking out of a mining lease or general purpose lease in relation to any part of the land; or
- in gaining access to the land because of unfavourable climatic conditions,
- the land the subject of the licence has for any reason the Minister considers sufficient been unworkable for the whole or a considerable part of any year of the term;
- work already carried out under the licence justifies further exploration; or
- if the exploration licence has retention status, the grounds for approval of retention status under section 69B of the Mining Act 1978 continue to exist.
A detailed explanation of the Department’s guidelines when assessing these reasons for extension is provided in the document Policy Guidelines – Extensions of Term for exploration licences attached.
When the reasons given do not justify an extension of term, or the information provided is insufficient to determine the application, the holder will be notified that, after 30 days from the date of the notification the application for the extension of term will be submitted to the Minister with a recommendation for refusal.
If the holder transfers the licence after applying for an extension of term then the application continues in the name of the transferee.