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How minerals exploration is regulated

Minerals exploration in Victoria is carefully regulated to ensure that exploration activities only occur in areas in which they are allowed, and that these activities are conducted responsibly to safeguard environmental, water, heritage and other features that are important to local communities.

New licences or other authorities under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 cannot be granted over national parks, wilderness parks or State parks under the National Parks Act 1975 (e.g. Grampians National Park).

An explorer must have a minerals exploration licence over a particular area in place, consult with land holders and agree access to any privately-owned land that the explorer wishes to undertake exploration activities on, before any exploration work can start.

Exploration activities must meet all required legislation and regulations. This includes around 20 Acts which provide safeguards for national parks, the environment, Indigenous heritage, water, land, wildlife, Native Title, flora and fauna, biodiversity, biosecurity and water catchment.

Exploration companies are bound by the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990, with the Code of Practice for Mineral Exploration being available as a guide.

Minerals exploration licences are issued by the department to applicants that meet the criteria for award of a licence required by legislation.

A minerals exploration licence grants the licence holder exclusive rights to explore for minerals in a specified area for five years. Licence holders may apply for a renewal of the licence.

Read more detailed information about applying for a exploration licences.