IMPORTANT - Feedback on current prospecting regulations

Rules and regulations In Tasmania for prospecting

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IMPORTANT - Feedback on current prospecting regulations

Post by mfdes » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:11 pm

Hi everyone,

There is a chance to provide some feedback to MRT about their current prospecting regulations. Apart from this, they do read this forum, and some comments I made recently have apparently stirred up some - potentially welcome - internal debate. If you have issues with current prospecting regulations, perhaps you think some are confusing, or unfair, there is now a good chance to have them heard.

Prospecting is a traditional, Heritage activity, and our ancestors have been looking for the shiny stuff for thousands of years. Much of Australia's prosperity derives from its mining industry, kicked off and spurred on by the humble prospector. That said, respect for the environment is paramount. We are currently allowed to prospect on some reserve types, and they have been nominated as reserves for a reason. Needless to say, filling up your holes and minimising your impact are both important parts of this activity. I need not tell you that many of the places we go to are beautiful, and should remain so, and their beauty is one of the big drawcards of doing this in the first place.

I would start the ball rolling with three issues:

1: Equipment
  • What is the guiding principle behind what we are and are not allowed to use?
  • It appears that hand-digging of material only is the main thing. No mechanical or motorised extraction is allowed.
  • Once we've dug this material by hand, how are we allowed to process it?
  • Presumably allowed: Sieves, panning dishes, snuffer bottles. Recent change seems to indicate river sluices are ok.
  • Unknown: Yabby pumps, highbankers. One could be construed to be outside of the realm of hand-digging (but then so's a shovel), the other uses a pump to elevate water, but all the material put through is hand-dug.
  • Outright forbidden: Suction dredges, mechanised digging equipment.
  • The main tools people around Australia are currently using to prospect for gold and minerals are: Sieves, panning dishes, river sluices, highbankers (Can we add other mainstream pieces of equipment here?).
  • Can MRT please clarify which of these are ok?
2: Allowed areas
  • Currently prospecting licences don't allow us to prospect in any Wildlife Sanctuaries, Forest Reserves, Conservation Areas or Nature Recreation Areas.
  • However, Conservation Areas or Nature Recreation Areas are usually set up over highly prospective land, and unless administratively exempted (such as through their management plans), are available for mining under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995.
  • Conversely, and adding to the confusion, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Forest Reserves no longer exist. State Reserves and Game Reserves, which do NOT allow mining under the Act, are not excluded by condition #5 on the prospecting licence, and condition #4 explicitly allows prospecting in Regional Reserves, in spite of the fact that some Regional Reserves, such as part of the Lake Pieman Regional Reserve, are unavailable for mining according to the MRDA.
  • You can use the "Unavailable Areas" layer in MRTMap to see where mining is and isn't allowed. The wording in the prospecting licence should reflect this information, and instructions on how to access this information should be provided with a prospecting licence.
3: Access to tenements
  • We currently must obtain permission from tenement holders before accessing parts of their tenement. This is as it should, but much prospective land in Tasmania is covered by tenement, and the issue of access has cropped up for me several times in the past.
  • Some tenement holders will simply ignore requests for access to their tenement, hoping we will go away.
  • Section 112 of the MRDA 1995 states that “A holder of a mineral tenement who refuses to give consent for the holder of a licence to prospect on land which is subject to the mineral tenement must give that person written reasons for the refusal” (my emphasis).
  • In cases when we get ignored altogether, at what point in time after requesting permission, in writing, can the lack of any answer or acknowledgement be deemed to imply consent to access the tenement?
Can others please add to this list?



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Re: IMPORTANT - Feedback on current prospecting regulations

Post by itassie » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:40 pm

Tasmanian prospecting licence is $29.60 for 12 months.
Victorian Miners Right is $17.20 for 10 years.

Tasmanian Prospecting Licences need to be increased to maybe a 5 year licence as applying for a new licence every 12 months becomes quiet annoying at times.

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Re: IMPORTANT - Feedback on current prospecting regulations

Post by Philski » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:01 am

so many things..

The good, so many people at MRT are amazing. We are lucky to have so many of them and its fantastic watching it grow and expand and develop into such a great repository of our mineral assemblage and geological history. Its important work and this ties in with Codes and our world class mines and so many things.

Artisanal prospecting and detecting is awesome fun, thats why i do it, its a healthy and rewarding activity with so many historical aspects and natural appreciations to boot. From the youngest to the oldest. It Rocks a lot. Our mineral rich and diverse State should be embracing it and us on every level. And i wish it did. I hope one day it does, because we all benefit . Its how 80% of the worlds great mines were discovered. By small scale prospectors just like us. Even here, big companies like Cmt, Bischoff, and Rosebery. Started with wee little prospectors.

First up, an improvement.
its not about what's on the licence as such, but actually getting one easily and swiftly.

Getting a licence. You have to find it, download it, print it, go for a drive, pay and post and wait. It is expensive, time consuming and non green. Paper, paper and more paper. We need to be able to apply for a prospecting licence online in one go. Not at service Tasmania or the post office or drive down to Hobart in a horse and cart. Online, on your new wizzbang website, like the rest of the world do. With payment options clearly written on the application form, if it has to be in paper form. Not all of us live in a big town or city or even have a post office or service Tasmania close by.

Sluice box use and wording. Regulate them, 900mm or what ever gives you some control over their design without going overboard, so innovation is not stifled. It is a major issue for many people. Out of the 250 people on here about 20 are under 40 years old and i constantly hear some of the older ones saying it hurts to pan now, and can't anymore. and thats simply not cool. These people are legends with so much experience to share and they are leaving prospecting because they simply cant do it anymore and get any enjoy out of it its an easy fix. mechanical sluice, ban them, hand tools only. Is it confusing,, you bet, as an example. Garretts super sluice gold pan and turbopan are both illegal by the exact same definition on the current Tasmanian Prospecting licence and you have just banned the 2 best gold pans on Earth.

Could someone at MRT please change the typo of Trammels to Trommels in "CONDITIONS RELATING TO PROSPECTING LICENCES" on the website, would be great, It has needed changing for a year or so now and would make it clearer for all. unless im not allowed to tie my horse up by its feet in Tasmania? :roll: perhaps im not?

Also as Miguel stated, Agency terms and licence conditions are not coherent with the MRDA (1995) or the many other Acts governing our activities, and theirs. As an example, Crown land is most definitely open to us* its in The Act *if its not under existing tenement. Things like that really need to be stated clearly and concisely to save any confusion and countless phone calls the lovely receptionist at MRT. Perhaps the letters on the Tasmanian prospecting licence could be made smaller to fit it all on and we all get a free loupe to read it. another suggestion!

Have a great day

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Re: IMPORTANT - Feedback on current prospecting regulations

Post by acfish » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:48 pm

Great work guys,
i am thankful you have the time and energy to pursue these matters for the benefit of us all.
thanks again

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Re: IMPORTANT - Feedback on current prospecting regulations

Post by Resto » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:07 pm

i spoke to MRT today regarding a prospecting licence for this week end, as it stands you must fill in a application form and send it back with a cheque for payment and they will process and send your licence out. You can also submit the form to service tas and pay the application fee, which they will then forward to MRT to be processed.If you are in the Hobart area you can go into the MRT and do it all there. As i am from Launceston and wont be able to get the licence posted here in time for the week end, the person i spoke to said if i faxed or emailed the form and then rang with credit card details i could pay over the phone, they would then process it and post out the licence, but email me a scanned copy that i could print for the week end.
They seemed very helpful! He also said they are looking at a system to be able to do the whole process online, which he agreed would be much easier and simplified.
Phil mentioned something to me about a group licence and when i asked of this he stated that they had not been approved of as yet.
Cheers Adam

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Re: IMPORTANT - Feedback on current prospecting regulations

Post by Philski » Sun May 03, 2015 1:26 pm

Hey Adam, im so glad you could make our field trip and thanks to MRT for seeing their current system could be improved to suit everyone better. its backwards at present.

I disagree with the group prospecting licence "approval" It passed legislation 20 years ago. And, have referred it and other matters related to the MRDA and our prospecting licence to Senator Lambie today. So they can address it with her and why its taken so long for them to understand it, in the best way they think appropriate. Next port of call is the media, then my Parliamentarians and anyone else i see fit. I have also contacted an expert on crown issues, so one way or another the hearsay and innuendo and made up rules on the fly end. They have had ample time and been given every opportunity to get a simple document ready, that is both accurate and respective of their constitutional requirements under law and every single relevent legislation's that governs our activities and theirs.

I was only saying today, they could have hundreds of active prospectors keeping an eye out for them on the ground. Because there was a mutual respect thing going on, but they chose not to, or to communicate any of it effectively.

WHY am i about to go ballistic? I dont like MRT using me personally, as an example of a bad prospector, and for a reason the rules need to be even stricter on us. that's total and utter bullshit, and a shame on MRT for ever allowing it to happen.

And the rules, implementation, interpretation and explanation, and overall consistency of them in your own department, are simply lacking. I would be better off moving to Victoria or any other State, than stay here. At least they are all on the ball and proactive with regard to recreational prospecting.

have a nice day
Phillip Kemp

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