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You have rights as a landowner - explorers must respect those rights.

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MER_Directions_for_Community_Engagement-1Directions for Community Engagement 
Presented at SACOME - Community Engagement Forum, 18 June 2015 

What is exploration?  

In South Australia minerals are not owned by landowners, but are vested in the Crown. Mineral exploration licences are granted to allow the search for mineral deposits. Every new mine has its beginnings as an exploration project; however, most exploration projects do not advance to become mines.

Exploration can take many forms, from a prospector walking through the bush mapping rock types and collecting rock or soil samples by hand, to drilling and complex geoscientific activities.

Mineral exploration in South Australia

Mineral exploration, like agriculture, has been an important part of the South Australian economy since the 1830s. Both industries have a history of successful coexistence in South Australia, based on effective regulation, sound environmental practices, and respectful working relationships between explorers and landowners.

Landowners should expect that if a company is considering exploring on their property, the company will communicate with them at the earliest opportunity (via telephone, in person, or by email). This means well ahead of any intended activities, not the day before an activity is planned.

  • To access your land to undertake any form of exploration, an explorer must either:
    • Issue you with a form called a Notice of Entry, and then wait 21 days before entering your land; or
    • Negotiate an agreement with you that includes the conditions of entry.
  • If the explorer intends to use equipment such as earthmoving and drilling equipment, the explorer must also issue you with a Notice of use of Declared Equipment form or negotiate an agreement.
  • In either case, you should expect that the explorer will provide you with detail about their company, the work they intend to do, the timing and location of that work and any associated impacts.
  • As a landowner, you can request additional information from the explorer about their plans. 
  • Some areas, called ‘exempt land’ — including cropping land or land close to a residence — are treated differently. Explorers cannot access exempt land unless both parties reach agreement.

Respectful working relationships

Best-practice exploration is built on respectful working relationships between explorers and landowners.

  • Whether negotiated at the first stage of exploration or at some later time if exploration continues on your property, formal agreements between landowners and explorers should include conditions and timing of access (including working around lambing or harvest periods for example), preferred communication methods and appropriate compensation.
  • You may be entitled to compensation for exploration that occurs on your property. Compensation should be negotiated in good faith and set at a level that recognises the impact of the exploration activities on the landholder.
  • You may also be entitled to compensation for legal costs. Compensation for your legal fees may form part of any agreement you negotiate with the explorer.

Your say

As a landowner you have a say in what happens on your land.

  • As a freehold or perpetual landowner, if you don’t object to a Notice of Entry, the explorer can enter your land after 21 days. You have up to 3 months after receiving the Notice of Entry to formally object to the explorer entering your
    land.
  • As any type of landowner, if you don’t object to a Notice of use of Declared Equipment form, the explorer can use such equipment on your land after 21 days. You have up to 3 months after receiving the Notice of use of Declared Equipment to formally object to the explorer using declared equipment on your land.
  • Ultimately, if you object, or an agreement between you and the explorer cannot be reached:
    • as a freehold or perpetual landowner you have the right to object in court
      to an explorer accessing your land
    • explorers may also seek permission from the court to access the land.
  • In either case, the court will take the concerns of all parties into consideration.

Time to consider proposals

As a landowner you have time to consider any proposal to explore on your land

  • You should expect that explorers will continually communicate with you  throughout the duration of their work, regardless of whether or not it proceeds to a mining operation. 

For more information, contact:

For advice and hard copies of the guidelines please contact the Mineral Resources Division of the Department of State Development

+61 8 8463 3000
resources.customerservices@sa.gov.au