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.

Understanding land tenure for Resource Authorities

The department's mapping program GeoResGlobe allows you to navigate around a map of Queensland and overlay specific layers. This can assist with understanding and researching the native title requirements of a resource authority, or when you nominate a native title process through MyMinesOnline.

Important layers to utilise in your research are:

  • cadastre (for land parcels and roads)
  • block and sub-block
  • native title (all layers)
  • satellite imagery (this imagery is located in base maps).

The following table explains the native title layers in GeoResGlobe.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land ATSIL-freehold land Aboriginal Freehold land is subject to native title
ATSIL-reserve Land held as a reserve for the benefit of Aboriginal people
Deed of Grant in Trust Land held in trust for the benefit of Aboriginal people
Designated landscape area Contains areas of high cultural significance. May require exclusion from resource authority or a full RTN process
Indigenous Land Use Agreement-expired   Expired State ILUAs
Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC)   Identified the Body Corporate for a determined native title claim
Indigenous Land Use Agreement-private   Private ILUAs that are related to mining or petroleum
Indigenous Land Use Agreement-state   There are no current State ILUAs available to opt into
Land subject to Native Title-indication only   This layer should be used as a guide only and is broadly based on the tenure type.
Native Title claim determination   Determinations of native title shown as QCDyear/number. Identifies both determinations of native title and where it does not exist
Native Title claim application   Registered claims shown as QCyear/number. Also identifies registered claims for NTA compensation which are not relevant to this guide. Shown as QPyear/number.
Representative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Body (RATSIB) area   Identifies the relevant representative body for the area

Native title processes for resource authorities

The granting of a mining or petroleum resource authority for exploration or production purposes is classified as a 'right to mine'.

A right to mine over land subject to native title is captured in the ‘future act’ provisions of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth) (NTA) which provides an avenue to engage with the relevant native title party.

Some mining or petroleum resource authorities are not considered a right to mine and fall within other future act provisions of the NTA. For example, a water monitoring authority or a mining lease for infrastructure.

All future acts trigger the obligation to address native title, and there are a variety of processes available. The processes available to applicants vary depending on the type of resource authority, the work program and the area of land that is subject to native title.

Where a resource authority area contains land subject to native title and a future act is triggered, the applicant is required to nominate one, or in some cases a combination of the native title processes, as set out in the table below.

Resource Authority Type Bulk sampling Activities Native Title process available
Native Title Land ExcludedExpedited Right to negotiate Indigenous Land Use Agreement 24MD6A
Exploration Permit for Coal Yes    
Exploration Permit for Minerals Yes    
Mineral Development Licence Yes    
Mining Claim     
Mining Lease (ML)     
ML for Infrastructure     24MD6B  
Authority To Prospect    
Petroleum Lease    
Pipeline Licence     24MD6A  
Petroleum Survey Licence     24MD6A  
Petroleum Facility Licence     24MD6A  
Water Monitoring Authority     
Exploration Permit for Geothermal     
Geothermal Lease     
Exploration Permit for Greenhouse Gas Storage (EPQ)     24MD6A  
Greenhouse Gas Storage Lease (QL)     24MD6A  
Parcel Permit for Prospecting     

Prospecting permits

Applicants for prospecting permits should apply for land where native title has been extinguished or land that is within a native title determination. Native title does not exist as the length of time required for a native title process will exceed the 3 months for which the prospecting permit is granted.

When a native title process is not required

Most resource authority applications will require a native title process, except in the following cases.

Exclusive land (100%)

A native title process is not required for land where native title has been identified as exclusive land for the entire area of the background land tenure for a resource authority.

Applicants should undertake a review of the resource authority area by utilising the Land subject to Native Title layer in GeoResGlobe, prior to selecting this process when lodging your application in MyMinesOnline.

The State will complete an assessment on the underlying land tenure to confirm the application can proceed under this process. If the State’s assessment identifies land subject to native title in the resource authority area, then the applicant will be contacted to confirm a native title process to address the native title requirements.

Native title does not exist

In Queensland there are some native title claim determinations that concluded native title does not exist e.g. Mandandanji People QCD2018/001, QUD366/2008, Mardigan People QCD2019/009 QUD7/2019 and Brown River People QD201/003 QUD245/2011.

Resource authorities that are wholly within the determination boundary will be processed the same as Exclusive land (100%). You can select Exclusive Land (100%) when lodging your application in MyMinesOnline.

Excluded or exempt resource authorities

Some resource authorities and applications 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
  • assignment or transfers lodged. Note: Where the resource authority is subject to a NTPC or section 31 Deed, there may be clauses relating to the transfer which you must comply with.

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