‘Victoria’s resources sector must do the right thing’: Earth Resources Regulator

The Earth Resources Regulator has shared the importance of recreational…

The Earth Resources Regulator has shared the importance of recreational prospectors understanding where they are allowed to prospect.

Recreational prospecting and fossicking are regulated activities in Victoria. Both are permitted in state forests and designated areas of some national, state, historic and heritage parks.

Prospectors must also obey all public land rules, including driving only on public tracks or roads, taking all rubbish home and immediately restoring the area by backfilling any holes and replacing the leaf litter.

For a Victorian to prospect, they must have a miner’s right. A 10-year miner’s right costs $27 and is for individuals only, not businesses.

There are over 87,000 miner’s rights currently active in Victoria, with more than 11,000 purchased in 2023.

Because of the increase in Victorians buying miner’s rights, the Earth Resources Regulator has expressed how important it is for those hunting gold to understand how they can protect the environment.

The Earth Resources Regulator – Victoria’s regulator of exploration, mining, recreational prospecting, quarrying, petroleum,  and other earth resource activities ­­– has its inspectors frequently check that prospectors are licensed, panning in permitted areas and complying with environmental safeguards.

“It’s important modern gold hunters are aware of the rules and how to remain safe,” Resources Victoria chief executive officer Matt Vincent said.

“Recreational prospecting is a great way to introduce friends and family to the state’s historic gold regions and the enjoyment of searching for gold using metal detectors or hand tools like sieves and pans – and it could result in a discovery or just good fun.”

The Earth Resources Regulator has also shared the importance of the minerals and quarry sectors complying with the operating conditions and regulations that enable their commercial activities.

The government regulator said its rules ensure activities being undertaken don’t pose unacceptable risks to the community, infrastructure or the environment.

“Operators across Victoria’s resources sector must do the right thing and comply with regulations to be entrusted to develop and extract the state’s minerals and quarry materials,” Vincent said.

“Most operators in the resources sector across the state are working hard, meeting all their obligations and performing to a high standard – the Earth Resources Regulator is focused on those falling short of this benchmark to ensure their poor practices don’t put the environment, infrastructure and communities at risk.

“Industry will see us continue to promote our increased use of notices to formalise our requirements when we find risks not being managed appropriately or authority holders not complying with their Work Plans, a strong and active regulator reflects well on the broader resources sector.”

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