Native title for mining and resources
Australian law recognises that Indigenous people have rights and interests in the land under their traditional laws and customs.
The Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth) sets out specified processes that must be followed for any 'future act' on land or waters that would affect native title rights and interests. Applications for most resource authorities are considered future acts and are subject to these native title processes.
This page provides an overview of the native title requirements for your resource authority application and provides information to help you choose a suitable native title process. Quarry operators should refer to the guide to native title procedures for sales permits.
Role of government
The Federal Court decides the validity of claims for native title. A registered claim gives a native title party certain procedural rights, such as the 'right to negotiate' with applicants regarding the grant of most mining or petroleum authorities for areas covered by the claim. The Queensland Government coordinates the application process for resource authorities. We liaise with industry and individuals to process exploration and mining authorities that fall under the Native Title Act.
Land subject to native title
When is a native title process not required?
Most resource authority applications will require a native title process, except in the following cases.
Land not subject to native title
You do not require a native title process for land where native title has been extinguished (i.e exclusive land). You can check the status of land in GeoResGlobe or when you apply through MyMinesOnline. If you select '100% exclusive' as your native title option this will be verified by a native title assessor.
Excluded land provisions
Applications for certain resource authorities may not require a native title process if the land subject to native title constitutes less than 10% of the tenure area.
In these cases, we may exclude the native title land from the granted tenure and the application can proceed without a native title process. You will not however be able to enter the excluded land for any purpose. You can apply at a later date to add the excluded land to your resource authority, but this will require a native title process. For more information, read the Operational policy: Excluding land subject to native title (PDF, 441KB).
The excluded land provisions apply only to applications for:
- exploration permit for coal or minerals
- mineral development licence
- authority to prospect
- petroleum lease.
Excluded/exempt resource authorities
Some resource authorities do not require a native title process. These are:
- prospecting permits for pegging purposes only under the Mineral Resources Act 1989
- fossicking permits under the Fossicking Act 1994.
Geothermal and greenhouse gas resource authorities and amalgamated petroleum leases
Geothermal and greenhouse gas authorities
The grant of an authority administered under the Geothermal Energy Act 2010 and the Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2009 is not considered a 'right to mine'. It is a 'future act' within the meaning of section 233 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth).
To ensure the grant is valid, the native title parties for the affected land or water must provide consent in a registered Indigenous Land Use Agreement.
Amalgamation of 2 or more petroleum leases
The amalgamation of 2 or more petroleum leases is a 'future act' if native title exists in the area. As the amalgamation of 2 petroleum lease results in the grant of a new lease, a native title process must be undertaken for the new grant.
Available native title processes
Several processes are available for addressing native title issues depending on the type of application you are making. These include:
- Right to negotiate (RTN) - a negotiation process between the applicant and native title parties about what can occur on the land and compensation for impacts.
- Expedited procedure - a faster process for resolving native title for operations that do not cause major ground disturbance (e.g. exploration authorities).
- Indigenous land use agreements - agreements, either state-based or private, that incorporate multiple future acts and larger scale operations, rather than single resource authorities.
A combination of processes may also be used.
Selecting a native title process
If there is land subject to native title within the boundary of your resource authority application, you will be asked to nominate a native title process.
The available processes depend on the type of resource authority you are applying for. See the table below for details.
Note: Prospecting permits for prospecting and hand mining require a native title process. Applicants should only apply for land where native title has been extinguished as the length of time required for a native title process will exceed the 3 months for which the prospecting permit is granted.
|Application type||Available native title processes|
Prospecting permit for prospecting1
Exploration permit for minerals or coal2
Mineral development licence2
Authority to prospect2
Petroleum lease and other permits
1 Applicants for prospecting permits should apply for land where native title has been extinguished as the length of time required for a native title process will exceed the 3 months for which the prospecting permit is granted.
2 Applications may not require a native title process if land subject to native title constitutes less than 10% of the tenure area. See information about excluded land provisions above.
- Read the Native Title Act 1993.
- Find out about the advertising requirements for native title processes.
- View the latest public notices for native title.
- Contact us for help with your native title requirements.
- Last reviewed: 9 Jun 2021
- Last updated: 10 Jun 2021