Exploration & land access
Exploration is not mining and does not guarantee that mining will occur in the area being explored. In fact, few exploration programs actually find economically recoverable minerals.
Nevertheless, exploration ensures a continued pipeline of mining projects, and is critical to the development of mining in NSW and the economic benefit it generates. There is tight competition for exploration investment both domestically and internationally and it is important that NSW remains an attractive destination for investors.
Exploration is the process of searching for mineral deposits in the ground. Exploration can be as simple as analysing rock types and soil characteristics across large areas of land, while more detailed investigations involve various forms of drilling and excavations in smaller areas. We've produced fact sheets that further explain exploration methods.
Exploration licences are issued by the NSW Government. They include detailed conditions to minimise any disturbance caused by exploration. The licence holder also has to lodge a substantial security deposit with the government that is only returned once rehabilitation is complete.
Once a company has been granted an exploration licence, they can’t enter a landholder’s property without first negotiating an access arrangement. An access arrangement sets out issues such as where on the property the exploration activities will take place, at what times, for how long and under what conditions, and what compensation may be paid to the landholder. Exploration licences do not permit mining, and they do not guarantee that a mining lease will be granted. This fact sheet further explains exploration for landholders.
The NSW Government’s template Land Access Arrangement for Mineral Exploration and accompanying Land Access Arrangement Information have been published after extensive consultation between the NSW Minerals Council and NSW Farmers. The template helps explorers and landholders negotiate a land access arrangement, and can be tailored to reflect the individual needs of the landholder and explorer. We have also drafted a Guideline to provide further background information on the template, as well as guidance on compensation rates and a draft confidentiality clause.
Watch this video or see our fact sheets for more information on exploration.
We have also produced a detailed Handbook, which provides a full reference document for NSW explorers, with accompanying checklists, fact sheets and case studies. For a hard copy of the revised Exploration Handbook, complete this order form.