Penalties for illegal prospecting

The Department of Mines and Petroleum investigates allegations of unauthorised mining activity; reports can be made by contacting the Investigation Services Branch – Compliance Section.

The Investigation Services Branch – Compliance Section responds to all allegations of offences committed under the Mining Act 1978 and Regulations. It provides support for environmental issues, breaches of tenement conditions and investigation of offences committed against other departmental legislation.

Incident reporting

Mine Safety and Dangerous Goods Queries

Email minessafety@dmp.wa.gov.au or dgsb@dmp.wa.gov.au for general queries or complaints relating to mine safety or dangerous goods. Do not contact the Investigations Services Branch.

Reporting Suspected Unauthorised Activity

To report suspected unauthorised activity, contact Investigation Services Branch – Compliance Section by email: ieb@dmp.wa.gov.au.

To respond effectively to complaints, it is essential to report the incident promptly (within a few hours or days of the incident occurring or being detected), and to include as many details as requested below.

Details to Include When Reporting Unlawful Activity

  • Precise location of the activity (specific GPS coordinates are preferred, or a sufficiently detailed description of the location);
  • Photographs (JPG, BMP or PNG) or videos (MPG, WMV, MOV, MP4, AVI) of the activity;
  • Time and date the activity occurred or at least a time and date range in which the activity occurred;
  • Details of any vehicles sighted including vehicle number plates;
  • Details of any persons sighted or spoken to at the time of the incident, including their names and contact details;
  • Specific tenement numbers if applicable; and,
  • Your name and contact details (so ISB can clarify any details relating to the complaint).

Note: Your name and details will not be released and will remain confidential at all times. However, it may be necessary for you to give evidence in court if charges have been laid and if you have witnessed the activity actually taking place.

Unauthorised Mining Activity

The majority of reports received by the branch relate to allegations of unlawful mining activity. This includes activities such as (but not limited to):

  • Mining outside approved tenements;
  • Prospecting on tenements without approval; and
  • Prospecting on crown land without a Miner's Right.

Fines and Penalties

Unauthorised mining in accordance with Section 155 of the Mining Act 1978 and attract a penalty:

  • For an individual of up to $150,000 and a further $15,000 for each day the offence continues.
  • For a body corporate of up to $300,000 and a further $30,000 for each day the offence continues.

For more information on prospecting, please go to the Prospectors & fossickers page.