In NSW, an authorisation under the Mining Act 1992 must be granted by the Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade before anyone can undertake exploration activities. Authorisations which permit exploration are commonly referred to as ‘titles’ and include the following:

Exploration licences – an EL gives the title holder exclusive rights to explore for a specific mineral group/s within a designated area. An EL does not permit mining.

Assessment leases – an AL gives the title holder exclusive rights to continue to explore for a specific mineral group/s within a designated area. It enables a title holder to continue ownership of a title over an area during the period between exploration and mining. An AL is typically held over land to facilitate a detailed assessment of the economic viability of a future mining project. An AL does not permit mining.

Exploration titles are granted by Mining, Exploration and Geoscience with Regional NSW.

Conditions are imposed on titles to ensure:

  • potential impacts on the environment are minimised
  • disturbed land is progressively rehabilitated as exploration progresses
  • a security bond is lodged with the department to cover the government’s full costs in undertaking rehabilitation in the event of default by the title holder
  • title holders provide annual reports on the progress of rehabilitation

The NSW Resources Regulator is responsible for regulating compliance with title conditions.
The standard conditions of titles can be downloaded from the Mining, Exploration and Geoscience website at Standard conditions.