Small scale mining project guidance package

Overview

The department has prepared comprehensive guidance for small scale mining projects to assist operators in the small scale mining sector to meet their obligation to comply with the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

The department recognises the importance that small scale mining plays in contributing to regional and remote communities across the state.

The guidance materials cover the regulatory requirements for the environmental management of small scale mining projects throughout the life of the project.

Activities that are consistent with the definition of small scale mining activities in Schedule 4 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 do not require an environmental authority. Only activities carried out under mining claims and exploration permits (minerals) are included in this definition. If an activity does not meet the definition of small scale mining activity, the operator is still required to hold an environmental authority.

All small scale mining activities are subject to the conditions prescribed in Schedule 6 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 and section 21A of the Environmental Protection Act 1994. Prescribed conditions relate to rehabilitation and surety requirements. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 it is an offence for a person to carry out a small scale mining activity and not comply with prescribed conditions. It is also an offence for the holder of a small scale mining tenure (other than a prospecting permit) to carry out a small scale mining activity without paying a surety in accordance with the amount prescribed by the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 and in the form required by the scheme manager under the section 56 of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018.

The Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy (DNRME) has produced a Small Scale Mining Code under section 319C of the Mineral Resources Act 1989. This Code does not replace environmental regulation and enforcement under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. Rather, the Code provides further guidelines and conditions that will assist small scale miners conduct their activities and manage the land in a way that ensures the landscape upon which they work is kept in a reasonable state for current and future use.

A prescribed condition under the Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 overrides any guidance in the Small Scale Mining Code.

To conduct a small scale mining activity you are required to obtain a tenure from DNRME by registering and lodging your application via the My Mines Online Service. DNRME will advise our department and the scheme manager within Queensland Treasury of the application and any subsequent grant of tenure. After grant, you must contact the scheme manager to arrange payment of surety.

For advice about obtaining a tenure from DNRME, contact the Small Scale Mining Assessment Hub:

Email: SSMHub@dnrme.qld.gov.au
Phone: (07) 4987 9350

For advice about paying surety to the Scheme Manager:

Email: fps@treasury.qld.gov.au
Phone: (07) 3035 3551.