Mining on agricultural land - resources
The current Mining Act 1971 outlines conditions under which mining may occur in South Australia.
This information relates to the current Mining Act. Information on the proposed changes to the Mining Act is available here.
21 days’ notice
To access a producer’s land to undertake any form of exploration, a mining company must either:
- Issue a form called a ‘notice of entry’ and then wait 21 days before entering.
- Negotiate an agreement with producers that includes the conditions of entry.
Producers can refuse entry and sometimes, these cases end up in court.
Technically, cultivated fields are defined as ‘exempt land’ in the Mining Act 1971. However, there is provision for that exemption to be waived. Landowners can negotiate with the mining company on conditions of exemption and compensation but if agreement cannot be reached, the matter is referred to court. This has happened numerous times for primary producers in SA and no recent case in SA has ruled in favour of producers who do not want miners on their property.
In some instances, producers who have mineral exploration on their property have waited many years before there is any progress toward a mine. This has meant producers have no certainty on whether or not their property will be subject to a mine and they cannot plan to make on-farm investments in their property, such as building sheds or improving soils.
Department of State Development
Guidelines: landowner rights and access arrangements in relation to mineral exploration and mining in South Australia - PDF document
Landowner frequently asked questions about mineral exploration in South Australia - PDF document
Understanding mineral exploration: information for farm businesses and the community - PDF document
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