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About the Stavely Ground Release Tender

What was tendered?

Minerals explorers were provided an opportunity to apply for one or more of 11 minerals exploration blocks that were offered in the Stavely Arc region in western Victoria. Priority was given to exploration for copper, gold and other eligible metals. Tenderers were successful in securing six of the blocks and their application for a minerals exploration licence will now be considered, using the processes stipulated under the Act.

Exploration for coal and gas will not be permitted under these exploration licences.

Laws and regulations prohibit minerals exploration licences from being issued over national parks (such as the Grampians National Park), state parks and wilderness areas.

Why was a tender held?

The tender process was designed to attract companies with the best minerals exploration capability, exploration and community engagement programs, as well as a good history of responsible exploration and community and landholder engagement.

The tender is part of a wider program, the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative. This initiative was established to encourage investment in minerals exploration while ensuring factors that are important to local communities are considered.

Improving what is expected of minerals explorers

The tender process was designed to attract companies with the best minerals exploration capability, exploration and community engagement programs, as well as a good history of responsible exploration and community and landholder engagement.

Licence holders are being encouraged to adopt best practice approaches to communication and negotiation with landholders on land access.

The department is progressing improvements to land access arrangements to help landholders feel more confident in interacting with explorers about their exploration programs and land access.

Land use planning to understand factors important to communities

Detailed studies and consultation were undertaken by the department involving key agency stakeholders in the Stavely Arc region.

This helped to build an understanding of the land uses, land planning, environmental, water and heritage features within the region that are regionally important to local communities, and to consider whether minerals exploration (given the way it is regulated) might affect these features.

The department used this work to help identify which areas are suitable for minerals exploration. The studies and consultation with regional leaders concluded that the sensitive areas identified were generally well safeguarded from any potential adverse effects from minerals exploration by existing legislation and land planning processes and controls.

Engaging with local communities and other stakeholders

Over the past few years, the department has engaged with community leaders and stakeholders to learn about the region's experiences with minerals exploration and to help farmers, other stakeholders and community members better understand the region’s geology, minerals exploration and how it’s regulated.

Information sessions were held in nine towns across the Stavely Arc region during the tender and department staff attended several agricultural events to meet with landholders. These occasions provided opportunities for locals to find out more, and for us to answer questions and provide additional information about minerals exploration and how it is regulated.

The department will continue to engage throughout the licensing process and beyond. If companies gain an exploration licence, they will be closely monitored to ensure that their stakeholder engagement is based on best practice. Minerals exploration licensees will be required to keep both landholders and local communities informed on a regular and ongoing basis, at both the beginning of their exploration activities and throughout the duration of their licence.

What it may mean for you

For town residents, and for the vast majority of landholders within the six blocks, the tender is unlikely to have any impacts at all. Any minerals exploration programs which may follow from the tender will most likely have no or little impact on the ground and affect a small number of landholders.

Regionally significant areas, land uses, environmental and heritage features are safeguarded through the regulatory framework outlined in the section on how minerals exploration is regulated in Victoria.

Explorers are required by legislation to ensure they have identified and managed any risks posed by their intended work to the environment, people, land, property or infrastructure.

This same Act sets out requirements of explorers for access to private land such as consultation with land holders, consent, compensation and dispute resolution.

Licence holders are being encouraged to adopt best practice approaches to communication and negotiation with landholders on land access.

The department is progressing improvements to land access arrangements to help landholders feel more confident in interacting with explorers about their exploration programs and land access.

Read more about land access and regulations.

Throughout the licencing process, there will be opportunities for local communities to speak with departmental staff and experts to share their thoughts and learn more about the minerals exploration process in their region, and how it is regulated.

Find out more

We understand that landholders and residents want to be more informed and have an opportunity to express their views on the benefits, risks and safeguards for minerals exploration and, in the much longer term, potential mining. 

If you're interested in meeting with us please register your interest.