The future of the town of Mintabie has been dependent on putting in place the APY Land Rights (Mintabie) Amendment Act 2009, the Mintabie Township Lease Agreement and Lease.
The Mintabie Township Lease and Lease Agreement came into operation on 1 July 2012, signed by Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY), the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation and the Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy. At this stage, the Mintabie Miners Progress Association Incorporated (MMPA) elected not to be a signatory to the Agreement, although MMPA may choose to do so at any time in the future.
The Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy through the Department of the Premier and Cabinet will manage and administer the Mintabie township lease area.
The Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division (AARD) of the Department of State Development will assist where required but particularly with the shop licensing system and regulation.
South Australia Police (SAPOL) have agreed to assist with a short term permit system at Marla.
New policy for the grant of commercial licences
From Thursday 1 June 2017 additional criteria for the granting of commercial licences in the Mintabie Township Lease Area have been put in place.
The Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy will no longer grant any commercial licences that permit book-up or store credit.
Operation of new Mintabie Town Lease
The new Mintabie Town Lease and legislation commenced on 1 July 2012 and will expire on 30 June 2027. The agreement allows for negotiations to commence on or after 30 June 2022 if there is a desire to extend it. Unlike the negotiations for this new Mintabie Town Lease, the legislation will not need to be amended as there is a provision for an extension to the agreement.
Mintabie Town Lease area
The Mintabie Town Lease area will be reserved from the Mining Act 1971 and the Opal Mining Act 1995 . This means that within the defined area of the Mintabie Town Lease exploration or mining for opal or minerals will not be allowed. This is the same concept as the previous lease only over a slightly larger area.
Changes to Opal Mining Act
If you wish to prospect for opal on the Mintabie precious stones field upon expiry of your current Precious Stones Prospecting Permit (PSPP) you must apply for a Mintabie endorsed PSPP which will give you the appropriate authorisation. A National Police Clearance Certificate must be provided with your application and the same assessment criteria will apply as for a camp site licence.
You must also supply a National Police Clearance Certificate with your application for a Precious Stones Claim (PSC).
There are some new rules about exclusions from the Mintabie precious stones field and from Mintabie township under the APY Land Rights Act 1981, the Opal Mining Act and the Agreement. If you lose your Mintabie PSPP endorsement there are provisions for application to the Wardens Court to have some of these decisions reviewed.
A condition of holding a precious stones tenement on the Mintabie precious stones field is that you must not reside on the Mintabie Precious Stones Field itself other than in the defined area of the Mintabie Town Lease.
Residential campsite licence fees
These fees are outlined in the Agreement and are similar to payments since 2003, which increase in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) each year. The administration fee will increase slightly to assist the Department of the Premier and Cabinet with administration of the Mintabie licensing system.
Payments must be up-to-date – back pay arrangements
To remain in Mintabie you must have a current campsite licence, which includes payment of all outstanding fees. In accordance with the Agreement fees are due annually and in advance.
If you have been living in Mintabie since 2002 and you have not paid all of your fees it is possible that your licence can be refused. This is not likely if you pay up or negotiate arrangements to pay outstanding amounts with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, you comply with a National Police History check and any other conditions of living in Mintabie.
The Department of the Premier and Cabinet (Coober Pedy Office) is able to arrange payment of outstanding campsite fees by instalment.
Reminder: Ensure all family members and other regular visitors are listed on the campsite application form. This includes: spouse, domestic partner, or parent or child, of a person who holds a Mintabie PSPP or precious stones tenement on the Mintabie Precious Stones Field. Any additional person over the age of 18 years who is listed on the campsite application is required to provide a National Police Clearance Certificate and this is assessed in the same manner as a campsite licence holder.
Exception to the rule (Transitional Provision 13(2)): If you are not mining but you have a campsite license that is current 6 months prior to the commencement of Section 5 of this Act the Minister or delegate has the discretion to issue a camp site licence. This provision is particularly relevant to retired miners
National Police Clearance checks
All persons entering the Mintabie Precious Stones Field or the defined Mintabie town area (whether residing or entering to prospect and mine) over the age of 18 must satisfy the requirement of providing a National Police Clearance Certificate to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.
This may not apply to the proposed short term permits issued by SAPOL at Marla.
Your National Police Clearance Certificate must not be more than one year old and it will apply to your campsite licence, PSPP and PSCs for 3 years from the date of issue, unless determined otherwise.
The original document will need to be viewed by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet or a certified copy provided with camp site licence application in the post.
Things the Department of the Premier and Cabinet will take into consideration on assessment of the police history check will include:
- If convicted of a crime in the past 10 years:
- The seriousness of the crime (e.g. violence, larceny, unlawful sale of a motor vehicle, sale of liquor or a regulated substance).
- Where and when the crime occurred (only convictions of a sexual nature or where an Aboriginal sacred site has been damaged will be taken into consideration if more than 10 years back but not further than 2 October 1981).
- Whether the crime occurred while the person was living at Mintabie.
- The relevance of the crime to good order at Mintabie and to appropriate relations between people at Mintabie and Anangu.
- Was the conviction related to illegal opal mining including in the Mintabie PSF or elsewhere on the lands.
- Effect of the person's behaviour on the welfare of Anangu or the welfare of those who are lawfully on the Mintabie Precious Stones Field.
- Similar considerations will apply for a company in relation to behaviour of a person who is a director, officer or employee of the company.
APY acohol by-laws
When the Mintabie Township Lease and amending legislation comes into operation so does the change to the APY alcohol by-laws which means:
- It will only be permissible to consume alcohol on the Mintabie Precious Stones Field at the Mintabie Hotel or at a licensed event if APY agrees to additional rights to possess alcohol at Mintabie pursuant to the APY alcohol by-laws.
- Exemptions are provided in the by-laws to allow for medically approved use, religious use or where the alcohol content is less than 1.15%. APY have the discretion to permit possession and consumption of alcohol beyond that directly permitted in the by-law by way of a permit issued by APY.
- MMPA has an opportunity at any time to seek agreement from APY to additional rights to possess and /or consume alcohol at Mintabie. This request may be looked upon favourably if the concerns that APY have had with Mintabie are being resolved.
Sale of motor vehicles
Private sales of motor vehicles may only be made between persons that lawfully reside at Mintabie or to a person residing outside of the APY lands. Unless APY agrees otherwise, private sales of motor vehicles must not be made to any other person who lives on APY lands outside the Mintabie township.
Shop licensing process – commercial licences
A new process will be introduced for shops upon approval by APY. Until the new process commences the interim arrangements continue.
Interim arrangements: The Department of the Premier and Cabinet will issue commercial licences to the shop owners that already operate at Mintabie if they meet the requirements for a campsite licence.
New arrangements: Before a new commercial campsite licence can be issued by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet the licence must be approved by APY.
Persons wishing to continue to operate a shop at Mintabie will need to apply through APY to continue to hold a shop licence at Mintabie.
APY will conduct an expression of interest process and advise the Department of the Premier and Cabinet of the operators who satisfy the requirements of that process. APY is currently developing this application process and it will take some months for APY to complete.
New licences issued under this process are proposed to have a 5 year term.
Update re. grant conditions for commercial licences: In May 2017 Mineral Policy 001 was released
Defined area of Mintabie Town Lease (new larger area)
The Mintabie Town Lease area will be reserved from the Opal Mining Act and the Mining Act.
This means that no activities that are administered under these acts can be carried out in these areas (e.g. prospecting or mining for opal).
Who will be entitled to remain on the Mintabie Precious Stones Field after 1 July 2012?
- A person who has been granted permission via a camp site licence or otherwise or has an automatic right to be there under the APY Land Rights Act.
- A person who holds a Mintabie PSPP or Precious Stones tenement on the Mintabie Precious Stones Field.
- Other approved persons who are a spouse, domestic partner, or parent, or child, of a person who holds a Mintabie PSPP or Precious Stones tenement on the Mintabie Precious Stones Field.
- A person who is working at the school – paid or otherwise.
- A person who is a student enrolled at the Mintabie School or their parent or guardian – this is only to enter Mintabie to drop off and pick up from school.
- A person who is working at a school other than Mintabie, a student or parent/guardian visiting Mintabie School for education purposes.
- A person who is an employee of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) who is entering and remaining on the lands for the purposes of medical or dental treatment.
- A person who is approved by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to enter and remain on the lands for the purposes of providing health care, religious instruction or pastoral care or community services to, or for the benefit of, residents in the Mintabie Town Lease area. A person must give reasonable notice before entering and give details to APY.
- There may be other people who from time to time may need or wish to remain at Mintabie. There is provision for approval to be given by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in consultation with MMPA and APY together with a public notification. These people must give reasonable notice of their need to enter and give their details to APY.
Access to Mintabie
Access to Mintabie is via the Mintabie Road, any other access routes will require permission from APY.
Transfer of licences
Licences are not transferrable. If you no longer wish to occupy a camp site you may apply to DSD to surrender it.
Note: A campsite licence does not give you ownership to the piece of land you occupy. Any transfer of assets on a camp site is a private arrangement between the appropriate parties. If you have arranged privately to transfer assets and the new party wishes to occupy the camp site they may apply in the appropriate manner (e.g. lodge an application form to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (include payment of fees, national police clearance certificate if over 18, etc.). The application will then be assessed by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and if all requirements are met a campsite licence will be issued to the applicant.)
Definition of campsite area
Posts of either steel or timber a minimum of 100 millimetres square must be securely placed in the ground at each corner or change of boundary direction and must project at least 1metre above the surface. Each post must have the licence number clearly marked. The Department of the Premier and Cabinet can provide plastic tags (similar to PSPP plates) free of charge, when applying for a licence please indicate the number required.
A sign approximately 250 mm x 150 mm with the camp licence number must be placed adjacent to the most common access point to the campsite.
This sign would be similar to that being rolled out through rural SA by local government as a part of the Rural Property addressing scheme.
More information on the Rural Property addressing scheme can be found on the Rural property addressing page of the sa.gov.au website
Access to water
If you have a current campsite licence you are entitled without any further permission from APY to use and maintain the bore and water distribution system in the Mintabie Precious Stones Field.
New bores will require permission from APY but it is not to be unreasonably withheld.
Information to APY
The Department of the Premier and Cabinet will keep APY informed of current campsite licence holders and approved persons, the area and location of the licence and the licence conditions.
A liaison committee will be set up.
It is proposed the committee will meet twice a year at Mintabie. It will be made up of 3 APY, 2 MMPA and 2 state representatives. The Department of the Premier and Cabinet will manage these meetings and provide executive support.
The role of the committee is to:
- review the operation of the Mintabie Township Lease Agreement at least every 5 years
- act as a forum to resolve problems arising from the Mintabie Township Lease Agreement
- provide input into State agencies whose activities relate to or affect Mintabie.
Penalties for remaining in Mintabie without a licence
Individual person $2000 plus $500 for each day the convicted person remains in Mintabie without permission and/or licence.
The same penalty applies to operating a business.
Who will be excluded from the Mintabie Precious Stones Field
Anyone ordered by the Court (based on application of the Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, APY or MMPA).
APY short-term visitor permit system for Mintabie
APY Executive Board is responsible for issuing permits for entry onto the Mintabie Precious Stones Field. Currently all persons not holding a PSPP require a permit from APY to enter Mintabie. The APY Executive Board has agreed to a change which will allow some short-term visitors such as passing tourists to visit Mintabie without the normal full permit process involving a National Police Clearance Certificate. APY have delegated the power to SAPOL to issue short-term permits for entry onto the Mintabie Precious Stones Field.
Short-term permits may be sought from the Marla Police Station during office hours. Consideration of an application to enter the Mintabie Precious Stones Field on a short-term permit will be subject to the availability of police staff at Marla Police Station, which is not guaranteed.
All individuals are reminded that entry on the Mintabie Precious Stones Field is restricted to hose who have a right or appropriate permission granted under the APY Land Rights Act.
If you would like any of the above clarified or have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact:
Manager, Opal Fields Program
Coober Pedy Opal Fields Office
Government of South Australia
Phone: 8678 9059
Acting Senikor Deputy Opal Mining Registrar
Coober Pedy Opal Fields Office
Government of South Australia
Phone: 8678 9057