Where you can go prospecting

You can prospect on:

  • unallocated or vacant Crown land not covered by a granted mining tenement
  • Crown land that is the subject of a pastoral lease, or lease for grazing and timber and is not covered by a granted mining tenement, provided prior notice is given to the lessee
  • mining tenements, provided you have written permission from the tenement holder
  • granted exploration licences, provided you have a Section 40E Permit. These permits provide access to nominated Crown land areas on granted exploration licences, described as graticular blocks. Permits are valid for three months and only allow the use of handheld tools.

Note: Mining tenement is the general term used in the Mining Act 1978 to refer to all granted leases and licences. Tenement application is the term used for a lease or licence not yet granted.

You cannot prospect on national parks, nature reserves, within town sites or other classified reserves such as cemeteries. A Permit to Enter is required to search for any mineral on private property (farm land). The permit can be issued by the department. Contact with the landowner should be made before entry.

Permission from the Native Title party is required to enter land where exclusive native title rights have been determined to exist. Protection is also given to Aboriginal heritage sites, and prospectors must not interfere with them. Large penalties and fines exist for breaches.