The contact details for the Lightning Ridge Office has changed, the new contact details are displayed at the bottom of the page.

The Mining Act 1992 provides for the creation of Mineral Claim Districts. Special conditions approved by the Minister and advertised in the Government Gazette apply to mineral claims granted over land within a district.

Order under Section 175 PDF, 1598.47 KB specifies the conditions that are to apply to mineral claims within the Lightning Ridge Mineral Claims District. The special conditions cover policy issues such as the shape and size of claims, the maximum number of claims that may be held and the term of the claim.

The Lightning Ridge Mineral Claim District has been created over the Opal Fields at Lightning Ridge and surrounding areas.

Mineral claims also are granted subject to specific conditions addressing issues such as mine safety, rehabilitation, dogs, buildings etc.

Information about the special and specific conditions may be obtained from the department's Lightning Ridge Office.

Complying with conditions

It is the responsibility of the claim holder to be aware of and to comply with the conditions of the claim.

A breach of conditions can lead to:

  • the holder of the claim being directed to fix the problem
  • and/or a fine being imposed
  • and/or cancellation of the claim

For information on the procedure for dealing with breaches of conditions – highlighted by a member of the public or a departmental officer – refer to Cancellation and suspension of mineral claims or the NSW Resources Regulator Prosecution Guidelines.

Effectively worked

One of the main conditions of a mineral claim is that the claim must be effectively worked to the satisfaction of the department. Failure to effectively work the mineral claim could lead to the cancellation of the claim.

For a claim to be effectively worked it must be actually operated as a claim and that means that there must be some work done for the purpose of extracting opal or for the purpose of finding opal.

There must not be any significant or substantial cessation of operations unless there has been a suspension of conditions approved by the department.

The decision as to whether or not a claim has been effectively worked will be a practical one and will be based on, amongst other factors:

  1. the type of equipment used
  2. the intentions of the claim holder
  3. the scale of the operation

The intention of this condition is to ensure that areas of land are not sterilised by claim holders without being worked.


A number of the conditions also require that the mineral claim area should be rehabilitated upon the expiry or cancellation of the claim. The rehabilitation requirements vary depending on whether or not the claim is located in a new or preserved opal field. The Rehabilitation Standards for Cancelled Claims guidelines PDF, 221.38 KB detail the specific rehabilitation requirements.

Dogs on claims

Some claims do not allow the claim holder to have a dog on the claim (refer to the claim conditions for details). Dog attacks on stock are of the utmost concern to the landholder, the department and the mining industry.

In the event of dogs attacking stock, action can be taken against the owner of the dog/s to recover costs for any stock losses.

Council rates

It is a condition of all residential mineral claims that they must pay to Walgett Council any fees, rates or charges as the Council may determine from time to time. The department can request proof of payment at any time. Non-payment of Council fees, rates or charges is a breach of conditions and can lead to the cancellation of the claim.

For further information
Lightning Ridge Office
+61 (0)2 6820 5200
+61 (0)2 6829 0825
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Division of Resources and Geoscience, PO Box 314 Lightning Ridge NSW 2834
Lot 60 Morilla Street Lightning Ridge NSW 2834 Map