Interested in learning more about exploration in Queensland? Our FAQS will help you understand everything there is to know about exploration including permits and legislation, exploration areas, environmental management and community engagement. 

The Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) administers the licences and authorities permitting exploration and production of resources.  More information concerning applications for the exploration licence for the relevant resource is available from the DNRME website here. In most cases an Environmental Authority (EA) granted by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) is also required. 


MyMinesOnline is the Queensland Government’s online system by which companies apply for and manage their exploration and other resource authorities 

Exploration authorities are granted for specific resource types including minerals, coal, petroleum and gas, geothermal, and greenhouse gas storage.  For example, one cannot explore for coal using a petroleum and gas authority. 

In Queensland, exploration for coal seam gas (CSG) requires a petroleum and gas authority, and underground coal gasification (UCG) a coal mining authority.  This is not uniform across all Australian states and territories. On 24 August 2017, the Queensland Parliament passed legislation which places a moratorium on all activities relating to UCG through the Mineral Resources Act 1989. 

Resource prospectivity exists over the greater portion of the Queensland land mass.  The best known regions are:  

  • Surat and Bowen Basins – coal, coal seam gas (CSG), oil and gas 
  • Weipa region (nth Qld) – bauxite and kaolin 
  • North West Qld Mineral province – base metals, phosphate, gold, molybdenum, graphite and rare earths 
  • Charters Towers region (north-east Qld) – gold and limestone 
  • South-west Qld (Cooper and Eromanga Basins) – oil and gas  

For more information, view the Queensland’s mineral, coal and petroleum operations and resources map on the DNRME website

The resources in the ground are the property of the state of Queensland. Exploration and production authorities enable the permit holders to explore, test and produce the resource.  Title of the resource transfers to the authority holders at the surface or when it leaves the tenure in exchange for a royalty payable to the State.  

Coal seam gas (CSG), underground coal gasification (UCG) and coal mining are all sourced from coal.

This issue is typically referred to as Overlapping Tenures, as the authorities are issued under different Acts.  A framework is in place which is based on a joint industry proposal.  It regulates both the resource authority and safety and health requirements and provides flexibility for both industries to come to cooperative arrangements.  An overview can be found here.

Native Title is the recognition in Australian law that some Indigenous peoples continue to hold rights to their land and waters, which come from their traditional laws and customs. For mining activities which disturb the land, the miner will usually have to come to an agreement with the relevant indigenous peoples who hold Native Title rights over the land. For more information from the National Native Title Tribunal click here, or read more about Queensland Government’s native title information here.

After a title holder has confirmed there is a discovered resource that can be produced or mined, the title holder needs to apply for and be granted the appropriate production or mining authority to enable development and mining/production operations to proceed.  Before such activities are permitted, the titleholders need to obtain the necessary environmental authorities and obtain land access by addressing native title and any landowner requirements.