15/05/2020

Fossickers allowed day trips under gradual easing of restrictions

The new directions issued by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer allow people to leave their home to undertake outdoor recreational activities, including fossicking.

The new directions issued by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer allow people to leave their home to undertake outdoor recreational activities, including fossicking.

Recreational prospectors can search for minerals and gemstones in groups of up to 10 people, while maintaining physical distancing of 1.5 metres between participants. Fossickers should ensure they can get to and from their location within a day, camping and overnight stays are not permitted.

As always, Victorians are being asked to use common sense when it comes to their outdoor activities and should only leave home if they really need to. We are all being asked to make sacrifices in order to save lives.

The updated restrictions and a renewed State of Emergency will be in place until 11:59pm on Sunday 31 May. For the latest public health advice visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Fossicking is permitted in state forests and regional parks, some national parks, state parks and waterways. It is also allowed on private property, provided you have permission of the landholder.

In Victoria, recreational fossickers must possess a miner's right. A miner’s right is valid for 10 years and can be purchased online for $25.20 by visiting earthresources.vic.gov.au.

In-line with the Victorian Government commitment not to increase fees over the next 12-months, the cost of a miner’s right will not increase over the coming year.

Fossicking is a low impact way of looking for gems or minerals using metal detectors, picks, shovels, sieves and pans. The use of mechanical equipment or explosives to excavate is not permitted, and vegetation and Aboriginal objects must not be removed or damaged.

Recreational fossicking can result in some eureka moments. In 2019 a gold nugget worth about $200,000 was discovered near Dunolly and another valued at $45,000 was found north of Bendigo.

Earth Resources Regulation inspectors will be out checking licences and ensuring recreational prospectors are doing the right thing. Penalties for not adhering to the conditions of a miner’s right can result in fines of up to $16,000.

People are urged to report illegal activity to Earth Resources Regulation on 1300 366 356 or by contacting Victoria Police.

Quotes attributable to Earth Resources Regulation’s Executive Director Anthony Hurst:

“Thank you to all the fossickers who did the right thing and acted responsibly by staying home to help slow the spread of coronavirus.”

“Now that some outdoor activities can resume, fossickers must continue to be aware of the rules and their responsibilities, including current health advice, when out looking for gold in some of Victoria's beautiful regions.”

“Our inspectors frequently conduct spot checks around the state to ensure fossicking is being conducted properly, safely and without harm to the community or environment.”

Contact: Mark Farrugia

Phone: (03) 8392 6913