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

Landholder rights, access management and compensation for mineral claims in the Lightning Ridge Claims District are clearly stated in Sections of Part 3 under Mining Act 1992.

Part 3: Mineral Claims

3.1 Service of Notice – Section 177

Before applying for a mineral claim an intending applicant must serve a notice on the landholder.

3.2 Objection as to agricultural land - Section 179

A landholder who is entitled to use land for agricultural purposes and who is served with a notice under section 177 may object to the granting of a mineral claim over the land on the basis that the land is agricultural land.

Such an objection must be in writing and must be lodged with the mining registrar for the mining division within which the land is situated within 28 days after the notice is served.

On receipt of an objection, the mining registrar is to refer the objection to the Director-General of the Department of Primary Industries Agriculture who is to determine the objection in accordance with Schedule 2, which defines Agricultural Land for the purposes of the Mining Act 1992.

If an area is determined to be agricultural land, a mineral claim can not be granted over the surface of the area.

3.3 Protection of Dwelling-Houses, Gardens and Significant Improvements - Section 188

A mineral claim may not be granted over the surface of any land:

  • on which, or within the prescribed distance of which, is situated a dwelling-house that is the principal place of residence of the person occupying it or a woolshed or shearing shed which is in use as such, or
  • on which, or within the prescribed distance of which, is situated any garden, or
  • on which is situated any significant improvement other than an improvement constructed or used for mining purposes only,

except with the written consent of the owner of the dwelling-house, woolshed, shearing shed, garden or improvement (and, in the case of the dwelling-house, the written consent of its occupant).

  • For the purposes of Section 188, a significant improvement is defined as any substantial building, dam, reservoir, contour bank, graded bank, levee, water disposal area, soil conservation work or other valuable work or structure.

The prescribed distance is:

  • 200 metres of the principal place of residence,
  • 200 metres of any dam or stock tank (other than a dam or stock tank constructed or used for mining purposes), unless consent is given to any person at which time the prescribed distance no longer applies.
  • 50 metres (or, if a greater distance is prescribed by the regulations, the greater distance) in respect of gardens.
  • A written consent once given is irrevocable.
  • A dwelling-house, woolshed, shearing shed, garden or improvement that was not in existence when the application for the mineral claim was lodged is not entitled to the protection given by Section 188.
  • In the event of a dispute regarding the above, the owner of the dwelling-house, garden or improvement or the occupier of the dwelling-house may apply to the Land and Environment Court for a determination on the matter.
  • A mineral claim may not be granted over land below the surface of land referred to in this section except at such depths, and subject to such conditions, as the mining registrar considers sufficient to minimise damage to that surface.

3.4 Access Management Plans – Part 10A

The holder of a mineral claim or opal prospecting licence wishing to access lands subject to the title, must do so in accordance with any existing Opal Field Management Plan (OFMP) or Access Management Plan (AMP). Considerations such as points of access, the routes of access roads, the safety of persons and stock and environmental protection may be incorporated into such plans, and must be adhered to by all title holders accessing that land.  Access to any land in the absence of an OFMP or AMP, must be via a right of way under Section 211 of the Mining Act 1992.

AMPs may be requested by the miner’s representative before or after a mineral claim or opal prospecting licence is granted over land.  The miner’s representative must serve notice on the landholder, giving notice of their intention to negotiate an AMP in respect of that land.  Such a notice must include:

  • a plan and description of the land sufficient to enable identification of that land; and
  • a description of the mining and prospecting methods intended to be used in that area.

An AMP, if agreed to by both the landholder and miner’s representative, must be lodged with the Director General for registration.

Should the landholder and miner’s representative not agree on the terms for an AMP, either party may apply to the Director General for a determination.  The Director General must consult both parties and consider any submissions received as a result.  After such consultation, the Director General may choose to make a determination, or decline to make such a determination.

In the event that the Director General declines to make a determination, either the landholder or the miner’s representative may apply to have the Land and Environment Court make a determination.  In the event that the Director General does make a determination, either the landholder or the miner’s representative may apply to have the Land and Environment Court review that determination.

Both the landholder and the miner’s representative will be informed by notice served on them of any of the following:

  • A determination of an AMP by the Director General;
  • A refusal of the Director General to determine an AMP; or
  • A determination of an AMP by a Land and Environment Court.

The public will be notified of an AMP by notice publish in a local newspaper.

3.5 Rights of way - Section 211

The holder of a mineral claim is entitled to a right of way (to be indicated or described in the manner prescribed by the regulations) between the claim area and the nearest practicable point of a public road. However, to utilise the right of way, the holder of the mineral claim:

  • must place substantial gates or grids (or, if the landholder of the land so requires, gates and grids) at all fences intersected by the right of way, or
  • if those fences are rabbit proof, marsupial proof or dog proof fences, must place rabbit proof, marsupial proof or dog proof gates at all such fences, as the case requires.

Any gate or grid must be of a design and construction that is adequate to prevent stock from straying.

A Land and Environment Court may hold an inquiry into any matter arising under, or in connection with, a right of way.  Such an inquiry may be held on the Land and Environment Court own motion or on the application of any landholder affected by, or the holder of any mineral claim entitled to, the right of way.

3.6 Compensation for Rights of way - Mining Regulation 34

  • The use of a right of way is subject to the following conditions:
  • the holder of the mineral claim who is entitled to the right of way is to pay to the landholder such amount, by way of compensation, as is agreed in writing by the holder of the mineral claim and the landholder (or, in default of agreement, as is assessed by a Land and Environment Court at the request of the holder of the mineral claim or the landholder),
  • if the right of way passes over:
  • any garden, orchard or land under cultivation, or
  • any land on which is situated any improvement, being a substantial building, dam, reservoir, contour bank, graded bank, levee, water disposal area, soil conservation work or other valuable work or structure, being land that was, when the right of way was marked out, land of that nature, the holder of the mineral claim who is entitled to the right of way is not to exercise the right of way otherwise than in accordance with the consent of the landholder.

3.7 Right of access to water - Section 212

If land subject to a mineral claim includes the surface of any land, a landholder who is entitled to use the land for stock watering or water drainage purposes is entitled to free and uninterrupted access, for those purposes, to the water in any stream (whether perennial or intermittent) or any lagoon or swamp (whether permanent or temporary) on or adjacent to the land. If any dispute arises between the holder of a mineral claim and any such landholder concerning the right of access, either the holder or the landholder may request the Land and Environment Court to determine the matter.

3.8 Use of water, timber and pasturage etc - Section 213

If land subject to a mineral claim includes the surface of the land, the holder of the mineral claim must not:

  • use water artificially conserved on that land, or
  • fell trees, strip bark or cut timber on that land,

otherwise than in accordance with the consent of any landholder of the surface of the land or, if such a landholder refuses consent or attaches unreasonable conditions to the consent, with the approval of the Land and Environment Court.
The holder of the claim must not:

  • depasture horses on the land, or keep on the land any dog that is not under effective control, unless the land is securely fenced, or
  • remove rock or earth from the land, except in connection with mining operations, otherwise than with the consent of the landholder of the surface of the land.

3.9 Compensation arising under mineral claim - Section 266

On the granting of a mineral claim, a landholder becomes entitled to compensation for any compensable loss suffered, or likely to be suffered, by the landholder as a result of the exercise of the rights conferred by the claim.

“Compensable loss” is defined as loss caused, or likely to be caused, by (Section 262):

  • damage to the surface of land, to crops, trees, grasses, or other vegetation (including fruit and vegetables) or to buildings, structures or works, being damaged, which has been caused by or which may arise from prospecting;
  • deprivation of the possession or of the use of the surface of land or any part of the surface; or
  • severance of land from other land of the landholder; or
  • surface rights of way and easements; or
  • destruction or loss of, or injury to, disturbance of or interference with, stock; or
  • damage consequential on any matter referred to in paragraph (a) - (e)

but does not include loss that is compensable under the Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 1961 .

The holder of a mineral claim must not commence activities on the claim unless:

  • the holder has served notice of intention to commence activities on any person entitled to compensation, and
  • the amount of compensation payable has been determined by agreement between the parties or assessed by the Land and Environment Court; and
  • the compensation has been paid to the person entitled to it or into the Land and Environment Court.
For further information
Lightning Ridge Office
Phone:
+61 (0)2 6820 5200
Fax:
+61 (0)2 6829 0825
lightningridge.office@planning.nsw.gov.au
Postal:
NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Division of Resources and Geoscience, PO Box 314 Lightning Ridge NSW 2834
Office:
Lot 60 Morilla Street Lightning Ridge NSW 2834 Map