Holding an authority to explore for minerals in New South Wales (NSW) comes with certain rights and responsibilities. Mining, Exploration and Geoscience (MEG) expects explorers in NSW to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the sustainable discovery and development of the state’s mineral resources.

The Minimum Standards for Work Programs and Technical and Financial Capability (the Standards) set out the mandatory criteria for decision-makers to consider when assessing applications for the grant, renewal and transfer of mineral prospecting authorities under the Mining Act 1992. It also provides guidance on how MEG will apply the Standards.

These Standards apply to an applicant’s work program, and their technical and financial capability to carry out the work program. They set out the criteria applicants must meet to demonstrate their commitment to effective and sustainable exploration.

The Standards deliver on action 4.4 of the NSW Minerals Strategy 2019.

The Standards support and enable informed, consistent and transparent decision-making on mineral prospecting authority applications. They will also provide greater clarity and certainty to applicants and the community on how MEG assesses prospecting authority applications and what the benchmarks for these assessments are.

The Standards will commence on 1 January 2021.


MEG released draft minimum standards for public consultation in early November 2019. The consultation period ended in early December 2019.

MEG closely considered the feedback contained in the submissions, some of which influenced the published version of the Standards.

The Response to stakeholder submissions document summarises the key issues raised in the submissions, MEG’s position on each issue and how particular issues were addressed.

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