In Australia, the relationship between people and land is legally interpreted via the use of tenures; which determine who has the right to use or occupy land.
These tenures are designed to balance the financial security, social stability, economic growth and the sustainability of natural resources. Land typically falls within one of two categories. Freehold gives the owner the right to deal with the land as they wish. However, this ownership is not absolute, because the Australian government retains rights to the minerals within the ground. Crown land may be leased or licensed to corporations or individuals. In Queensland, there are three main mineral exploration and mining tenures issued by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME).
Generally, to mine in Queensland you must apply for a resource authority, unless you are responding to a call for tender. At QUREX, we recommend acquiring an Exploration permit for minerals (EPM). This permit may be held for a five year term and can be renewed, depending on performance. It is worth noting that different permits are required for coal exploration as opposed to all other minerals.
Holding an EPM permit enables you to perform more advanced exploration activities than simply fossicking. The methods you undertake to identify the quantity and quality of minerals with this permit, may encompass the use of machinery. An EPM allows you to prospect, conduct geological mapping, geophysical surveys, drilling, sampling and testing.
When applying for any Exploration permit, you must also apply for an environmental authority which will regulate environmental management of activities you intend to carry out; unless you meet the eligibility for small-scale mining. Small-scale mining applies to any activity conducted to source minerals, excluding coal, in an area of four sub-blocks or less. That means a maximum of 0.1ha can be disturbed at any time.
There are three environmental authority application options; standard, variation or site specific. These authorities are granted by the Department of Environment and Science (DES). We suggest you get in touch with the DES before lodging your EPM application, so you can clarify the information required for assessment.