Land access for mineral exploration

The Land Access Arrangement Template for Mineral Exploration (the template) is published by the Department of Planning and Environment under Section 141(1A) of the Mining Act 1992. It aims to assist both landholders and mineral exploration companies operating in NSW to negotiate an access agreement. This template is intended to cover mineral and coal exploration but  does not address access to land for the purposes of opal prospecting or petroleum (including coal seam gas) exploration. Note that use of the template is voluntary.

In October 2015, Parliament passed the Mining and Petroleum Legislation Amendment (Land Access Arbitration) Bill 2015. Stakeholders requested further consultation on components of the reforms including the Land Access Arrangement Template for Mineral Exploration.



The Land Access Arrangement Template for Mineral Exploration (the template) is based on the law at the date of publication (June 2013). Legislative and regulatory changes made after the date of publication impact upon the accuracy of the material. Use of the template is voluntary and is provided for guidance only. The Department of Planning and Environment does not guarantee the accuracy, currency, fitness for purpose or completeness of the information included in the template. The Department will not accept liability for any injury, loss, cost, expense or damage whatsoever, whether direct, indirect consequential or special, incurred by, or arising by reason of, any person using or relying on the template and whether caused by reason of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the template or otherwise.

Agriculture and mining — a co-existence

Agriculture and mining are both vital industries in NSW and share many common beliefs and interests.

The successful coexistence of these industries has enormous benefits for the state, particularly in regional areas.

Although landholders may own the land, most mineral resources in NSW are owned by the state.

This means that the royalties and economic benefits from the mining of these resources contribute to the provision of services for the people of NSW.

The purpose of land access arrangements is to ensure the orderly search for minerals, while recognising the rights of landholders to conduct their activities free from unreasonable interference or disturbance.

Both landholders and explorers have clear legal rights regarding access to land for mineral exploration.

In particular, the Mining Act 1992 provides specific landholder protections in respect of dwellings, gardens and significant improvements, as well as providing a statutory right to compensation for any 'compensable loss' suffered due to exploration carried out under an exploration licence or assessment lease.

The vast majority of relationships between explorers and landholders are positive. Courtesy, respect and honesty go far in building relationships between explorers and landholders.

All access arrangements should be based on the understanding that explorers are 'visitors' on private land, and an appreciation by landholders of the needs and rights of mineral explorers.

Register of Arbitrated Access Arrangements

For further information

Resource Operations

Phone: +61 (0)2 4063 6600
Postal: Resource Operations, Mining, Exploration and Geoscience, Department of Regional NSW, PO Box 344 Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310
Office: 516 High Street Maitland NSW 2320