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Landholder FAQs


What does an exploration licence allow an explorer to do?

An exploration licence or an assessment lease gives the explorer (a prospecting title holder) the exclusive right to explore for the mineral or groups of minerals specified in the licence.

It does not entitle an explorer to enter any of the lands in the area covered by the licence without an access arrangement with the landholder.

Can an explorer automatically access my land if they hold a prospecting title?

No. Access to land is not permitted until a written access arrangement has been agreed or determined between the landholder and the title holder (explorer).​​​​​​ 

Do I have to negotiate a land access arrangement if I do not want to?

Yes. The Mining Act 1992 requires both the explorer and landholder to negotiate an access arrangement in good faith when negotiating an access arrangement.

The explorer is required to pay the reasonable costs of the landholder for negotiating an access arrangement negotiations. These costs have been capped at

  • $1,500 (ex GST) for exempt prospecting operations​​​​​​
  • $2,500 (ex GST) for assessable prospecting operations.

The explorer must also pay the reasonable costs of a landholder for participating in mediation, arbitration, and any court review if required. These costs are not capped.

Any costs incurred by an arbitrator in relation to the mediation and arbitration hearing are paid by the explorer. These costs are not capped.

Read more about costs payable by the explorer

When can an explorer access my land for exploration?

An explorer can only access your land for exploration in accordance with an access arrangement.

How long can a land access arrangement last?

The duration and details of access can be set out in an access arrangement.  

What happens to my land access arrangement if the exploration licence over my land is renewed?

The access arrangement may continue, be varied, or expire depending on the terms and conditions in the land access arrangement.

Can a land access arrangement be varied?

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 either party by initiating a variation in accordance with those provisions.

An access arrangement can also be varied by arbitration, whether the access arrangement was determined by an arbitrator, or by the Land and Environment Court.  

What happens if I’m having trouble finalising a land access agreement with an explorer?

Landholders and explorers 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 explorers agree on the terms and conditions for access to land.

The Land Access Arbitration Procedure (PDF, 1.18 MB) provides more information on mediation and arbitration. 

How do I find information on any prospecting titles in my area?

Information on areas under exploration licences, assessment leases or applications for new titles is available through MinView

MinView provides free access to a range of geoscientific data for NSW including geology maps and current exploration and mining licences and applications.

For applications for new titles, the applicant must publish notifications in both a newspaper circulating generally state-wide and circulating in the locality of the proposed exploration area. This requirement also applies for mining and petroleum production. Public submissions are invited and considered before an exploration title may be granted.

If there is an exploration licence or an assessment lease over my land, can I still carry on my regular business?

Yes. Both landholders and explorers will need to act in accordance with the terms and conditions of the land access agreement. 

What exploration methods are generally used? What can I expect to occur on my land?

Initial work may involve a geologist or technical officer walking the area and undertaking geological mapping of rock outcrops. Small samples may be gathered from streams, rocks or soil for chemical analysis.

If an area of interest is identified during this initial phase, further testing may occur.

This may involve additional sampling for analysis and geophysical exploration (the collection of information on subsurface geology by using electronic instruments). Most of these techniques do not involve significant ground disturbance.

If the results of these activities indicate potential mineralisation, the next phase of exploration may involve drilling activities usually using truck-mounted drill rigs.

There is generally only a minimal area of disturbance to allow for the preparation of a safe drill site.

All disturbed areas must be fully rehabilitated to strict environmental standards. Read more about mining leases and regulation.

Can I negotiate a land access arrangement if I am a tenant?

Access arrangements are required to be made in writing between the explorer and the landholder.

Am I eligible for compensation if I don't own the land, but live on it?

Access arrangements can include compensation for the landholder on the basis of compensable loss due to exploration activities. Whether you are eligible for compensation depends on whether you are defined as a ‘landholder’ under the Mining Act 1992.

The Mining Act 1992 also defines ‘secondary landholders’ that are identified in any register or record kept by the Registrar-General as a person having an interest in the land.

It may be prudent to seek legal advice if you have questions about the definition of ‘secondary landholder’ under the Mining Act 1992.

What information can I use to help me negotiate compensation for gas exploration and production?

For gas exploration and production, the NSW Government commissioned the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to develop independent advice on benchmark compensation rates for gas exploration and production. IPART published its final report in December 2015. The report and IPART’s compensation model is available online through IPART’s website. These tools can help landholders to calculate appropriate compensation levels, based on their circumstances.

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.