Consultation and engagement

We aim to ensure that anyone with an interest in exploration and mining activities can provide feedback and where appropriate, have a say.

Our approach is to help landholders and residents better understand exploration, licensing, and the firm rules that protect plants, animals, waterways, aquifers, cultural and indigenous heritage features.

In recent years, the government has held regular meetings with community leaders to help us understand land planning, environmental, water and heritage features that are important to local communities.

We are committed to an ongoing conversation about minerals exploration and mining.

Raising the bar

We've created a pilot program for the Stavely Ground Release to set new standards in community engagement criteria and land access support.

The tender criteria aims to attract companies with:

  • the best minerals exploration capability
  • strong exploration and community programs
  • a proven track record in responsible exploration and landholder engagement.

We are also trialling new supports in and around Stavely to help landholders discuss potential land access with a minerals explorer:

  • free workshops and information sessions
  • a simple, voluntary land access and compensation agreement template and guidance documents
  • training for local legal professionals in the Stavely initiative area
  • new dispute resolution approach and support which will be put in place after licences are granted.

What is community engagement?

Community engagement is interactions between stakeholders aimed at using community input to make decisions. The stakeholders are usually landholders, residents, government and a minerals exploration company.

Community engagement is talks between the stakeholders where the community can have input.

We are committed to open and effective communication with community groups and members about minerals exploration or mining in their local area.

A community can be broad and diverse. It's usually made up of the local community living in the project's area and varies based on who's affected and their interest in the project.

You can identify a community using 'Step 1 Identify community affected by the project' in the community engagement guidelines.

Community engagement is often a 'live' process that can change as a project develops. It also needs to be flexible and transparent to meet community needs.

Therefore, a licensee/minerals explorer's approach will vary based on the nature of the project; the level of impact; and the degree of community interest.

Community engagement plan

Exploration licence holders don't need a community engagement plan unless a work plan is required. However, they still have a duty to consult.

Under a mining licence, the licence holder needs to prepare a community engagement plan as part of the work plan.

A community engagement plan needs to clearly identify the community; and outline all aspects of engagement at each stage of the mining project.

The minimum requirements for the community engagement plan are in Schedule 13 of the Mineral Resources Development Regulations 2002. They depend on the geographical size of the licence and what activities the licence holder is undertaking.

For further information, please visit the Community Engagement Guidelines for Mining and Mineral Exploration.

What is consultation?

Consultation is a form of community engagement. It is two-way talks between the licensee (licence holder) and the community.

The licensee is required by law to consult with the community which means:

  • telling the community about any activities authorised by the licence that may affect the community
  • giving community members a fair chance to express their views.

In consultation, the licensee seeks, listens to and considers community feedback that may be useful to its decision-making process.

This doesn't mean they have to reach a mutual agreement but recognises that industry is more likely to make decisions with the community's needs in mind.

Consultation also gives licence holders the chance to learn about a community's attitudes and expectations.

Consultation may include:

  • face-to-face meetings
  • notice boards
  • fact sheets
  • telephone
  • written electronic surveys
  • hotline or phone-in opportunities
  • media advertising
  • invitations for submissions at public exhibitions or online.

Information sessions

Information sessions are generally offered in response to industry developments, major changes to law, or increased community interest but may be offered on request.

They aim to respond to your questions about laws and government policy relating to minerals exploration and mining.

We may also be able to offer information sessions on request.

If you are interested in an information session, please contact us.

Did you know?

Minerals exploration projects usually start with activities which have no or low impact on the ground (like surveying or soil sampling) over larger areas. As the explorer learns more about the geology, they refine their exploration program to focus progressively on much smaller areas within the minerals licence boundary.

Page last updated: 13 May 2019