Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative

Through the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative, the department has been taking an integrated approach to encourage investment in minerals exploration, while ensuring factors that are important to local communities are taken into account.

This integrated approach brings together outcomes from a number of programs led by the department, including:

  • Conducting geoscience programs to identify areas that have the most potential for mineral discoveries.
  • Understanding the local land uses, environmental, water, land access and other factors that are most important to the region's local communities.
  • Identifying and making available areas suitable for minerals exploration in a way that encourages the best exploration programs and explorers who are committed to working more closely with landholders and local communities before, and at all stages of their exploration programs.
  • Engaging with local communities, landholders, councils, water authorities and others in the region, to understand what's important to them.

Geoscience research to understand the area's geological potential

An extensive geoscience program named the Stavely Project was recently completed. The program found that the Stavely Arc has the geological potential for new copper, gold and possibly other metals discoveries.

It involved world-class research by the Geological Survey of Victoria, Geoscience Australia and other highly regarded research organisations including the Deep Exploration Technology Cooperative Research Centre.

The findings of this research have been publicly released in the form of technical geoscience data packages, reports and soon a three-dimensional model of the regional geology.

This material helps minerals explorers understand where mineral discoveries may be found, and helps them focus their exploration efforts.

Land use planning to understand factors important to communities

Detailed studies and consultation have been undertaken by the department involving local stakeholders in the Stavely Arc region.

This helped to build understanding of the land uses, land planning, environmental, water and heritage features within the region that are most important to local communities, and to consider whether minerals exploration (given the way it is regulated) might affect these features.

The department used this work to help identify which areas are suitable for minerals exploration. The studies and consultation with regional leaders concluded that the sensitive areas identified were generally well safeguarded from any potential adverse effects from minerals exploration by existing legislation and land planning processes and controls.

Engaging with local communities and other stakeholders

Over the past few years, the department has engaged with community leaders and stakeholders to learn about the region's experiences with minerals exploration and to help farmers, other stakeholders and community members better understand the region's geology, minerals exploration and how it's regulated.

The department will continue to engage with landholders and the community throughout the licensing process and beyond.

Exploration under the initiative

On 22 June 2018, a tender was opened for the exclusive right to be considered for a minerals exploration licence over one or more of 11 blocks offered in an area within western Victoria known in geological terms as the Stavely Arc. The tender closed on 15 August 2018.

The tender process was designed to attract companies with the best minerals exploration capability and community engagement programs, as well as a good history of responsible exploration and community and landholder engagement. Priority was given to exploration for copper, gold and other eligible metals. Exploration for coal and gas is not permitted.

Following assessment of the tenders by an independent panel of experts, six companies have successfully progressed through the tender process for six blocks.

Four of the six successful tenderers have been granted minerals exploration licences.  The remaining tenderers’ applications will be considered for a licence under the process and requirements for licensing outlined in the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (MRSDA).

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. This includes the Grampians National Park.

Regionally significant areas, land uses, environmental and heritage features are safeguarded through the regulatory framework. Learn about how minerals exploration is regulated in Victoria.

Explorers are required by legislation to ensure they have identified and managed any risks posed by their intended work to the environment, people, land, property or infrastructure.

This same Act sets out requirements of explorers for access to private land such as consultation with land holders, consent, compensation and dispute resolution.

Licence holders are being encouraged to adopt best practice approaches to communication and negotiation with landholders on land access.

The department is progressing improvements to land access arrangements to help landholders feel more confident in interacting with explorers about their exploration programs and land access.

Read more about land access and regulations.

Page last updated: 02 Jun 2021