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Explorer FAQs


I have an exploration licence. When can I access land for exploration?

Access to land for exploration can only occur once an access arrangement has been negotiated with each landholder. Until then, a prospecting title holder cannot carry out any on-ground exploration.

How long does a land access arrangement last?

The duration of access can be set by an access arrangement. Generally, access arrangements are made for the duration of the planned exploration work.

Can I be denied access while the arrangements are still active?

If a title holder contravenes the provisions of an access arrangement, the landholder may deny access to the land until the title holder ceases the contravention. 
A landholder or title holder can apply to the Secretary of the Department to appoint an arbitrator to deal with a contravention. In these cases, the Secretary will make the appointment within 48 hours of being requested to do so, and the arbitrator will deal with the matter within 5 business days of the appointment. The landholder may deny access until the arbitrator determines the matter. 
Access must be reinstated once the contravention is remedied to the reasonable satisfaction of, or as directed by, the appointed arbitrator.​​​​​

How do I renew my access arrangement with a landholder?

Under the Mining Act 1992, existing access arrangements may be renewed:

  • in accordance with details in the existing access arrangement,
  • by agreement between the parties, and
  • by an arbitrator (in all situations) or the Land and Environment Court (if the existing arrangement was determined by an arbitrator or court).

How do I negotiate compensation with the landholder?

A landholder is entitled to compensation for any ‘compensable loss’ incurred, or likely to be incurred as a result of a title holder exercising their rights, or as set out in an access arrangement. 
The parties negotiating an access arrangement are free to approach and structure compensation as they see fit.

What policy and legislation must I follow when accessing land?

Title holders must follow the requirements set out in relevant legislation, including the Mining Act 1992 and the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, depending on the resource they are prospecting for. 
Land access must comply with the requirements in:​​​​​​

  • relevant regulations including the Mining Regulation 2016 and the Petroleum (Onshore) Regulation 2016
  • any relevant codes​​​
  • title conditions
  • the access arrangements agreed in writing with the landholder(s).

I am unable to finalise a land access arrangement with the landholder of the land under my title. What do I do?

Landholders and prospecting title holders are required under legislation to act in good faith throughout this process. Where parties can’t reach agreement through negotiation, the Land Access Framework sets out a clear pathway to help landholders and title holders agree on the terms and conditions for access to land. 

The Land Access Arbitration Procedure (PDF, 2.18 MB) provides more information on mediation and arbitration.

Does the landholder have to participate in negotiating a land access arrangement?

Yes, the landholder and the explorer must negotiate an access arrangement in good faith under the Mining Act 1992. This generally means participating with an honest and sincere intention to reach an agreement.

What costs am I required to cover as part of negotiating access to land?

The costs include:

  • the reasonable costs of the landholder for participating in negotiating a land access arrangement.
  • These costs have been capped at $1,500 (ex GST) for exempt prospecting operations, and $2,500 (ex GST) for assessable prospecting operations.
  • the reasonable costs of the landholder for participating in mediation, arbitration, and any court review. These costs are not capped. 
  • the arbitrator’s costs in relation to the mediation and arbitration hearing. These costs are not capped.

Read more about costs payable by the explorer.

Can a land access arrangement be varied (includes termination)?

Yes, in certain circumstances a landholder or title holder may vary an active access arrangement. This can occur by both parties agreeing to the variation or if there are provisions in the access arrangement allowing variation, then by either party initiating a variation in accordance with those provisions. 
An access arrangement can also be varied by arbitration, regardless of whether the access arrangement was determined by an arbitrator, or by the Land and Environment Court.

How and when do I need to carry out rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation should be undertaken progressively and as soon as possible, in line with the requirements of:

Do I need a land access arrangement to mine from the land?

For mineral exploration, access arrangements only apply to exploration. To mine minerals in NSW a separate process must be followed which generally involves obtaining a mining lease under the Mining Act 1992

For petroleum exploration, access arrangements apply to both exploration and production, however, the explorer must also engage in a separate independent approvals process.

Where can I go for more information?

More information on land access and the arbitration framework in NSW can be found through the following links:

Note: The information provided above is general information only. You should seek assistance from a legal officer if you require more specific advice on matters relating to the Mining Act 1992 or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991.