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Code of practice for community consultation

Exploration title holders must engage in adequate, inclusive and appropriate community consultation about planning and conducting exploration activities under a prospecting title.

From 7 October 2022, within two months of their title anniversary date, exploration titleholders must publish their annual community report online or make it available on request within 14 days. Titleholders will have a six-month phase-in period to adopt this change until 7 March 2023.

Exploration code of practice: community consultation (PDF, 413.31 KB)

Exploration licences and assessment leases for all resources (prospecting titles) are granted with the objective of encouraging ecologically sustainable development, social responsibility and building economic wealth for the people of NSW.
This exploration code of practice sets out mandatory requirements and provides titleholders with related guidance regarding the expected performance for engagement in adequate, inclusive and appropriate community consultation about the planning for and conduct of exploration activities under a prospecting title.
This code serves two purposes:

  1. it provides upfront information to the industry and the community
  2. it sets out enforceable mandatory requirements related to community consultation.

This code enables the industry to:

  • adopt a risk-based approach to ensure compliance with mandatory requirements related to community consultation
  • commit to measurable performance standards
  • monitor performance and take corrective action if outcomes are not being achieved
  • keep and maintain relevant records of activities and/or actions.

This approach allows title holders to adopt innovative solutions and best practice techniques to meet performance requirements.
The code has been updated following industry consultation with changes effective from 7 October 2022, including:

  • Titleholders will have two months to publish their annual community consultation report from their title anniversary date.
  • Titleholders are required to publish their community consultation reports online or make them available on request within 14 days. Titleholders will no longer submit their community consultation reports to the Department.
  • When employing airborne surveys, titleholders need to include airborne surveying as part of the community consultation strategy and engagement plans. An Airborne surveys fact sheet (PDF, 115.1 KB) has more information.

Titleholders will still be required to submit annual geological and environmental reporting to the Department. Refer to the updated guidelines - Annual activity reporting for prospecting titles (PDF, 319.51 KB).

Community consultation reporting requirements for titleholders with conditions issued before 2016

For the small number of exploration licences or assessment leases issued before 2016, title conditions require holders to comply with an alternative community consultation guideline, which is available here. These titleholders must submit their annual community consultation report to the Department until their licence conditions are renewed and updated. 

Transitional arrangements from 7 October 2022 - 7 March 2023

For a period of up to 6 months from the date of publishing the amended Exploration code of practice: community consultation (i.e. 7 October 2022), titleholders will be required to continue to meet their existing obligations until the requirements within the updated code are met, or the transitional period expires (i.e. 7 March 2023) (whichever comes first).

This means titleholders may continue to submit their annual CCR to MEG (as described within the Exploration code of practice: community consultation) for up to 6 months from the date the amended code is published. After this date titleholders must make their annual community consultation report publicly available online or provide a copy upon request, without charge, within 14 days after the request is received. Titleholders are encouraged to take up the new requirements early in the transition period.

See below to access the former (2016) version of the Exploration code of practice: community consultation