Proposed changes to mining claims

The draft Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (the draft plan) released in late 2021 recognised the need for a more effective system to support small-scale mining.

During consultation on the draft plan, the Queensland Government received a wide range of views on the proposal to remove mining claims from the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (the Act) and consider better arrangements for small-scale mining activities.

The final Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan (the final plan) has now been released.

Read the final plan.

When a decision will be made

A decision on whether mining claims will be removed from the Act has not yet been made by the Queensland Government.

During consultation on the draft plan, we received extensive feedback on the proposal to remove mining claims and consider better arrangements for small-scale mining activities.

We are currently considering a range of high-level options for small-scale mining reform following the feedback received. These options will continue to be refined before a decision on whether to remove mining claims is made.

We will continue to work through the complexities associated with the reform and advise small-scale mining stakeholders when a decision has been made. If a proposed change to legislation is required, further consultation with stakeholders will be undertaken.

Consultation on options

If a decision is made about mining claims that involves changes to legislation, further consultation with stakeholders will be undertaken. It is anticipated that an options paper will be prepared and provided to stakeholders for feedback.

We received a number of submissions on the draft plan relating to small-scale mining advising that consultation over the Christmas and New Year period is not preferred due to the large number of mining claim holders not working on their claim over summer. We will aim to avoid consultation over this period, which may result in consultation on an options paper occurring in 2023.

When the moratorium will be lifted

The moratorium on applications for new mining claims started on 25 November 2021 for a period of 1 year. While the government continues to refine options for small-scale mining reform, the moratorium will remain in place.

Mining claim applications lodged before 25 November 2021 continue to be assessed. Existing mining claim holders can continue to operate in accordance with their conditions of tenure and can apply to renew or transfer their mining claim.

Who has been consulted

We have engaged with stakeholders across the resources industry, community and various levels of government to understand the risks and benefits of removing mining claims.

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

  • Options will continue to be refined in consultation with stakeholders.
  • A decision on the future of small-scale mining will be made.
  • An options paper will be released* for public consultation seeking feedback on the preferred approach.
  • If a proposed change to legislation is required*, there will be further consultation with stakeholders on the preferred approach and arrangements for existing mining claims.

*Pending government decisions

View the Small-scale mining roadmap (PDF, 832KB) for more details.

Contact

Small business hotline: 1300 654 687

General enquiries: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)