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Exploration for minerals and mining in South Australia cannot be undertaken either on Crown or private land unless in accordance with the provisions of the following acts and regulations.

Mining Act 1971

The Mining Act and Regulations made under the Act:

  • Provide that all minerals are the property of the Crown.
  • Provide for the issue of mineral tenements that give rights with respect to mineral exploration and production.
  • Establish landholder and licensee rights with regard to access to land and provide for compensation for any resulting damage.
  • Provide for the regulation of operations within tenements.
  • Provide for the collection of royalties on production; plus a range of fees for required approvals, annual tenement fees and penalties for breaches of the legislation.
  • Provide for the appointment of inspectors and authorised persons to have access to tenements.
  • Provide specific definitions of minerals, prospecting, exploration and mining.

More information about the provisions of the Mining Act and Regulations made under the Act

Offshore Minerals Act 2000

The Offshore Minerals Act came into operation on 4 May 2002. The various state, Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments agreed that, as far as is practicable, a common offshore mining regime should apply in both Commonwealth and state/territory waters.

The Offshore Minerals Act applies to coastal waters from the coastal boundary of the state to 3 nautical miles beyond the baseline and includes the gulf waters.

Any proposed exploration and/or mining activities to be undertaken in coastal waters are governed by this legislation.

Offshore Minerals Act 2000 (external site)

Opal Mining Act 1995

The Opal Mining Act came into operation in 1997.

Whilst the laws for opal mining apply throughout the state, there are special provisions within the Act that apply to the proclaimed precious stone fields. The precious stone fields include Andamooka, Mintabie, Coober Pedy, and Stuart Creek.

Opal Mining Act 1995 (external site)

More information on opal mining in South Australia

Other relevant Acts

There are a number of other South Australian and Commonwealth Acts that may be of interest or affect exploration work.
Other legislation, codes and standards applicable to mining operations