//Regulatory overview
Regulatory overview2018-06-18T01:58:48+00:00

REGULATORY OVERVIEW

Queensland’s mining sector is governed by a framework of laws and regulations, which direct mining operations and investment in the state. Any investor wishing to engage in mining-related activity in Queensland will need to understand this framework to ensure their success.

Who owns Queensland’s minerals and gas?  

The Queensland Government owns all resource rights (mineral, coal, gas, oil). The Queensland Government assesses and awards tenure a capable party to extract and sell the resource on behalf of the State. In return, the Queensland Government receives a royalty (as well as rent on the land) on the product payable by the capable party. All activities that are undertaken on the tenure are regulated by the Queensland Government.  

Exploration Regulatory Framework – at a glance 

Exploring for minerals and gas in Queensland is a regulated activity by the Queensland State Government. The Department of Natural Resources and Mines is the regulator of all exploration and resource based activities.

To undertake resources activities in Queensland, exploration and production, a tenure and an Environmental Authority first must be obtained. Click here for more information on Environmental Authorities for exploration. The following tenures are available to undertake exploration activity: 

Information on precious stone and small scale mining, such as alluvial gold mining, is not included in the information provided on this Gateway. For more information on this type of activity, please visit this Queensland Government web page on small scale mining here.

*One sub-block is approximately 3.1km2. 
CommodityTenure TypeSizeDuration
CoalExploration Permit for Coal (EPC) Maximum of 300 sub-blocks*
No more than 1ha can be disturbed at any time
5 year term
MineralsExploration Permit for Minerals (EPM) Maximum of 100 sub-blocks*
No more than 1ha can be disturbed at any time
5 year term
Petroleum and Gas Authority to Prospect (ATP) 12 year term
Small-scale mining of minerals other than uranium and coal, typically for precious stones (emerald, opal, ruby) and fine gold mining. Mining Claim Maximum of two Mining Claims can be held at any time. Maximum size is 1 hectare10 years

HOW TO GET AN EXPLORATION TENURE IN QUEENSLAND

STAGE 1

RESEARCH AVAILABLE AREAS TO EXPLORE

RESEARCH AVAILABLE AREAS TO EXPLORE

If for coal or gas, make expression of interest to Queensland Government. For minerals, use MinesOnlineMaps to identify areas not under tenure to explore, and areas under tenure in which to potentially joint venture or farm in.

There may be limitations on land that will be considered appropriate for certain resource activity in Queensland. For instance, an exploration tenure may be approved, however progression to a production tenure may be conditioned. Examples include urban areas or Strategic Environmental Areas under the Regional Planning Act 2013. 

You may want to employ a due diligence expert in tenements – see list of companies on the ‘Services Community’ page.  

Expressions of Interest are due each year by 30 September to be released in the following year in the Queensland Annual Exploration Plan.  For more information, visit this DNRM webpage.

STAGE 2

APPLY FOR TENURE

APPLY FOR TENURE

Mineral tenure is mostly available over the counter. For coal and gas, exploration land is only made available through competitive tender, meaning you must wait for land to first be released through the Queensland Annual Exploration Plan. 

The Queensland Government website on Application process for resource authorities has a good overview of what you will need to have in your application.  

STAGE 3

APPLY FOR AN EA AND ASSESS FOR OVERLAPPING TENURE

APPLY FOR AN EA AND ASSESS FOR OVERLAPPING TENURE

If you are the successful tenderer you must undertake the following: 

Apply for an Environmental Authority  

Assess whether there are any coexistence requirements with overlapping tenures. In the case there is an overlapping tenure (for coal or coal seam gas) you may need to develop a Joint Interaction Management Plan to manage any safety issues resulting from an interaction. See the Queensland Resources Council Overlapping Tenure Guide and Joint Interaction Management Plan Guide for more information.  

For more detail on regulations for explorers, Carter Newell Lawyers produce a comprehensive guide which is easy to understand called the ‘Explorers Guide to Queensland’