Proposed changes to mining claims

The Queensland Government supports the small-scale mining sector and the benefits it brings to many regions. However, a more effective system for regulating and administering the small-scale mining sector is needed.

Previous consultation on small-scale mining identified several issues such as:

  • the cost to taxpayers for administering the sector
  • unclear regulatory requirements
  • the use of mining claims for purposes other than mining
  • other compliance matters.

Addressing these issues will help to support genuine small-scale miners and improve the sector so it continues to benefit local communities.

The Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (QRIDP), released in June 2022, committed to implementing reforms to the small-scale mining sector.

Previous consultation

Extensive consultation has been undertaken on options for small-scale mining reform.

The discussion paper An enhanced regulatory framework for mining claims (PDF, 4.3MB) was released for consultation from November 2022 to February 2023.

A range of stakeholders provided feedback about proposals to enhance the regulatory framework for mining claims, including:

  • mining claim holders and small-scale mining associations
  • landholders and agricultural organisations
  • individuals, community members and associations
  • small businesses and local governments.

This feedback has been considered and used to refine the proposals.

The consultation paper, Legislative enhancements for mining claims (PDF, 922KB) was released for stakeholder feedback from September 2023 to December 2023.

The draft legislation (PDF, 516KB) was also released to show how the proposals would appear in the Mineral Resources Act 1989 or Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 if passed by Parliament.

The proposed legislative changes include:

  • changing application requirements
  • clarifying the activities permitted on mining claims
  • requiring evidence of activity
  • changing the term of a mining claim
  • creating a new offence for contravening a mining claim condition.

Existing mining claims and new applications

Until proposed legislative changes are made and implemented, existing mining claim holders can continue to operate under the current framework.

The new framework will apply to any person who applies for a mining claim, or if a mining claim is transferred, after the new legislation commences . Some of the proposed changes will only apply to a mining claim if it is transferred after the proposals take effect. Transitional arrangements will also apply to existing mining claim holders.

Guidance materials and information about the transition will be made available to all new and existing mining claim holders, if the legislation is implemented.

Gemfields planning study

The planning study is a blueprint that will look at all aspects of the Gemfields – it will shape the direction for change and growth, while protecting and preserving the region.

The study is being led by the Central Highlands Regional Council and supported by the Queensland Government. The council has established a community and stakeholder project reference group, who will work with the community on the development of this study.

While potential changes to small-scale mining will be taken into account, the study is a separate project that will look at the challenges and opportunities affecting the Gemfields' communities more broadly.

Next steps

  • Public consultation on the proposed legislative changes to the mining claim framework closed on 8 December 2023. Refer to the consultation paper (PDF, 922KB) and the draft legislation (PDF, 516KB) for details about these changes.
  • Feedback provided on the proposals is now being considered to finalise the legislation.
  • It is anticipated that legislation may be introduced into Parliament in 2024.
  • If legislation is passed by Parliament, changes to the mining claim framework would likely be implemented in 2025.