Small-scale mining code
Projects that have a relatively low environmental impact and meet the eligibility criteria for a small-scale mining activity do not need an environmental authority and can operate under the Small-scale mining code (PDF, 206KB).
If you already have an environmental authority and meet the criteria, you can apply to surrender your environmental authority when you renew your resource authority, or at any other time.
Miners operating under the code must follow its guidelines and mandatory conditions, as well as comply with the general environmental duty of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
Eligibility criteria for small-scale mining code
Mining activities carried out under the resource authorities shown in the table below are eligible.
Note that activities cannot occur:
- in a designated precinct in a strategic environmental area
- within 1km of a Category A or 500m of a Category B environmentally sensitive area
- on a strategic cropping area
- in a watercourse or riverine area.
Mining activities eligible for EA exemption
|Area of authority
|Corundum, gemstones or other precious stones
|Machine or hand-mining
20ha or less
No more than 5ha can be disturbed at any time
|Minerals other than coal
4 sub-blocks or less
No more than 0.1ha can be disturbed at any time
- Download the Opal and gem miners' handbook (PDF, 7.5MB) for safety advice to lower your risk of injury.
- Last reviewed: 12 Nov 2019
- Last updated: 3 Jan 2020