Licensing disputes, objections and comments

Minerals exploration is carefully regulated in Victoria. More than 20 laws apply to exploration and mining to protect the environment, Indigenous heritage, water, land, Native Title, plants and animals, biodiversity and water catchments.

From time to time objections and disputes over mineral licence applications may occur.

Objections/Comments

The Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA) includes provisions for anyone to make an objection to or a comment on an application for mineral or extractive exploration, or retention, mining and prospecting licences.

An objection is a reason to oppose the licence application.

Most objections can be solved in a suitable work plan which covers the proposed activities and is considered following the granting of the licence.

A comment can be an opinion or additional information which is made available to the department.

View more landholder information.

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As part of the licence application process, applicants are required to place a ‘notice of application’ advertisement in local newspapers in the area of any proposed work. A notice must also be advertised in the Wednesday edition of a Victorian statewide newspaper (for example, The Age, the Herald-Sun or The Weekly Times).

Advertisements will include:

  • the identity and contact details of the applicant
  • the date of the application
  • the locality of the proposed work
  • the proposed program of work
  • links to additional information from the applicant
  • how to register an objection.

The objection/comment period is 21 days from the date the application was last advertised. To be considered, objections or comments must be lodged within the objection/comment period.

Objections/Comments must include:

  • the licence application number
  • the grounds on which the objection is made or an explanation of the comment

Submitting an objection or comment

Objections/comments can be made online or by post to:

The Minister for Resources
c/- Manager Licensing
PO Box 2392
Melbourne Victoria 3001

It is recommended that objections and comments are lodged online to ensure timely consideration.

Grounds for objection may relate to perceived loss of amenity, social aspects, environmental impacts or any matters the minister must consider below.

Section 15(6) of the MRSDA requires that the minister must be satisfied that the applicant meets the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a licence (determined by relevant background checks)
  2. The applicant intends to comply with the MRSDA
  3. The applicant genuinely intends to do the work
  4. The applicant has an appropriate program of work
  5. The applicant is likely to be able to finance the proposed work and rehabilitation of the land.

We will review objections and comments lodged as part of the licence application by:

  • considering the concerns raised in the objection
  • considering the comments made
  • deciding if the landholder's concerns can be settled through existing processes, including work plans
  • making recommendations to the minister or minister's delegate.

How we decide on a licence application

Most objections can be solved in a suitable work plan which covers the proposed activities and is considered following the granting of the licence.

After the applicant has met all of the other legal conditions, the minister or minister's delegate will review:

  • the issues raised in any objection
  • the comments made regarding the licence application
  • work proposed on the licence
  • the potential impact of the proposed work on the community and the environment.

We will write to the person who made the objection or comment to advise of our decision.

You can view objections or comments free of charge at our office in Melbourne. For an appointment please contact licensing.err@ecodev.vic.gov.au.

Disputes

In Victoria, before an applicant can access privately-owned land and commence exploration activities, the landholder needs to provide consent.

If an agreement between the explorer and the landholder can't be reached, it can escalate into a dispute.

A dispute is in no one’s best interest.

All parties should minimise the risk of disputes by regularly communicating with each other.

What if we cannot resolve a dispute?

If the parties cannot resolve a dispute, either the landholder or explorer should refer the dispute to one of the following independent bodies for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Alternative Dispute Resolution enables parties to resolve a dispute without taking legal action through the court or tribunal system. ADR generally involves the use of:

  • preliminary assistance; and
  • mediation.

Preliminary assistance involves talking to the independent body about the dispute. The independent body will provide information and assistance to help you resolve the matter.

Mediation is a confidential process to resolve the dispute using a trained, impartial, mediator. A mediator doesn’t make a decision. The mediator helps you reach your own decision.

The following independent bodies can assist a landholder and explorer resolve a dispute:

Page last updated: 12 Nov 2019