The Governor of NSW has created five new Mineral Allocation Areas (MAAs) for Group 1 minerals.  These lands declared by the Governor prevent new exploration licence applications for Group 1 minerals (metals) without Ministerial consent. Reporting and renewal requirements for existing Group 1 mineral titles within the MAAs are unaffected. The declared areas are (follow the link to view in MinView):

These areas are extensions of geological areas where metallic minerals exist that are covered (or partially covered) by a layer of barren geology.

As part of the MinEx CRC National Drilling Initiative, the Geological Survey of NSW (GSNSW) is undertaking a data collection project in the state’s central and far west to better understand hidden geology and see if any new, major Group 1 mineral deposits (i.e. metallic minerals such as gold, silver and platinum) may lay deep beneath the earth’s surface (up to 500m).

GSNSW will undertake geological mapping, data acquisition and drilling programs in these areas from 2019 to 2028, avoiding sensitive areas. Drilling is planned from 2022 to 2026. Mineral explorers will not be “locked out” of the MAA areas until 2028, but the government will use the controls provided by the declaration to ensure that only high quality explorers with strong records of community engagement and environmental compliance will be able to secure new exploration licences in these areas.

As well as collecting data on potential metal deposits, scientists may discover previously unknown groundwater resources and will conduct analysis of pumped water from existing waterbores to help understand aquifers and water quality.

The declaration of the MAAs does not indicate that these areas are being reserved for mining. The MinEx CRC activity represents early-stage mineral exploration and only 1 in 300 mineral exploration projects eventually leads to an operating mine.

The government will consult affected landholders, relevant agencies and local communities before, and during, the project, and ensure any rehabilitation will be of the highest standard.

The project’s staged approach on an area-by-area basis begins with the South Cobar MAA in early 2019.

For more information contact us at: 1300 736 122 or

For further information
Head Office (Division of Resources and Geoscience)
1300 736 122 (toll free) or +61 (0)2 4063 6425
NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Division of Resources and Geoscience, PO Box K348, Haymarket NSW 1240
323 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Map