The tender process

Evaluation of tender responses for minerals exploration rights is underway, with a decision on successful tenderers expected in March 2021.

This infographic is an overview of the six phases of the tender, from ground selection to granting of minerals exploration licences.

Tap on each Information symbol on the Infographic for more information.

North Central Victorian Goldfields Ground Release

This phase is completed

Ground Selection

Ground prospective for gold and suitable for minerals exploration

Recent local discoveries highlight potential for more high-grade, low-cost gold discoveries.

The ground selected is prospective for orogenic gold mineralisation under cover.

The tender is for minerals exploration rights, subject to successful applicants meeting licensing requirements.

Geoscientific information, together with studies undertaken to identify and understand land features within this area and how these are safeguarded by legislation and regulations, helped select ground suitable to release for minerals exploration.

If all requirements for licensing are met under relevant legislation, successful tenderers will secure exclusive mineral exploration rights to one or more of the four large blocks of prospective ground (PDF - 480.4 KB) which range in size from 327km² to 512km².

Recent gold discoveries in this region highlights the potential for more high-grade, low-cost gold discoveries

This phase is completed

Tender Design

Designed to attract experienced, capable, responsible explorers with strong social values

Underpinning the tender are:

Land use & Inventory study

Geoscience

Traditional Owners

Community Engagement

Underpinning the tender opportunity is a comprehensive suite of high quality pre-competitive geoscience data and knowledge compiled by the Geological Survey of Victoria.

This is accompanied by land use and features studies to inform potential tenderers and to help them evaluate this opportunity, assist in preparation of their tender responses and in undertaking minerals exploration (subject to licensing).

For the first time in Victoria, Traditional Owners of the area (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, Taungurung Land & Waters Council, Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation) were invited to collaborate on this tender.

Successful tenderers who meet licensing requirements must implement their tendered Stakeholder and Community Engagement Plan, including their approach to working with landholders, communities and Traditional Owners.

This phase is completed

Open Tender Period

Strong tender response indicates industry confidence

The tender closed on 14 February 2020. Good governance has been embedded into every step of the tender process to ensure fairness and confidentiality of tenderer information.

This opportunity generated strong industry interest both locally and internationally; more tender responses were received than expected.

The department's engagement of local communities raises awareness of the tender, tender process and minerals exploration

Engagement with local communities by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions continues to increase understanding of what minerals exploration involves, how it is regulated, landholder rights, and assistance available for negotiating with minerals explorers.

We are here

Evaluation and Selection

Tenders evaluated by an Independent Assessment Panel

The evaluation process is being conducted in accordance with strict probity protocols and overseen by an external independent expert Probity Advisor.

Tender evaluation supported by two expert advisory panels for responsible exploration and working with Traditional Owners

Technical Evaluation

Responsible Exploration

Traditional Owners

Emphasis is placed on the exploration capability of companies and proposed minerals exploration programs.

Plans for conducting exploration responsibly will also be assessed, including working with Traditional Owners.

The decision on successful tenderers is expected at the end of March 2021.

From March 2021

Licensing Assessment

Once successful tenders are accepted, these licence applicants must meet legislated licensing requirements

Accepted tenders will proceed to the licensing stage, which is conducted by Victoria's mining regulator, Earth Resources Regulation, in accordance with relevant state legislation.

Recommended successful tenderers for the relevant block(s) are considered for final approval.

Successful and unsuccessful tenderers will be notified in writing.

The acceptance of tenders is published in the Victorian Government Gazette with Notice.

Successful tenderers must advertise their licence applications in one of the state’s daily newspapers and one regional newspaper within 14 days of acceptance of the tender.

Community information sessions will be conducted to inform landholders about minerals exploration and their rights

Successful tenderers are further assessed by Earth Resources Regulation to ensure they fulfil the legislated standards of:

* being a fit and proper person
* having an appropriate program of work
* being likely to finance the proposed work including the rehabilitation of land.

Before a minerals exploration licence can be granted, a 21-day period begins to give the public the opportunity to make submissions in relation to the licence application.

Successful tenderers who are granted an exploration licence are required to implement their Stakeholder and Community Engagement Plan.

Licence holders are also required to establish and maintain a website explaining their proposed minerals exploration program and community feedback mechanisms. This helps keep local communities informed about planned and completed activities as well as providing a point of contact.

A Native Title Future Acts assessment is undertaken to comply with the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993. Each of the four blocks contain Crown land parcels which may be subject to Native Title considerations.

Licensed tenderers have the option to either reach an agreement with Native Title parties or excise Crown land parcels from the minerals exploration licence area.

From July 2021

Minerals Exploration

Minerals exploration is carefully regulated in Victoria to ensure it is conducted responsibly. Host communities benefit from expenditure made by licensed exploration companies.

The Victorian Government’s expectations and requirements of licensees are outlined in the Code of Practice for Minerals Exploration and Community Engagement Guidelines for Mining and Mineral Exploration in Victoria, including consultation, land access consent and compensation.

Exploration begins once landholder consent and approvals have been obtained.

The department continues conversations with key stakeholders and regional leaders about the benefits of minerals exploration, the rights and obligations of explorers and landholders, and information about tools to negotiate land access.

Up to 20 Acts and legislative instruments govern the activities of minerals exploration and mining licence holders, particularly around the environment and cultural heritage.

Licensees may be required to obtain approvals under other Acts and Regulations.

Page last updated: 20 Nov 2020