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 changes to the Mining Act that commenced as of January 2021 is available here.

42 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’ at least 42 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. 

Exempt land

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.

Exploration timeframes

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.

Landowner Information Service 

In 2019, GPSA was able to secure government support for an independent mining advisory service, called the Landowner Information Service. The Service commenced in July 2020 and is being delivered by advisory group Rural Business Support.

The Service provides free, independent and confidential information to landowners, farmers and other rural community members on any exploration, mining or related activities that may affect them. The Service will further provide landowners and community members with information regarding their options, rights and responsibilities and the legal processes associated with exploration and mining, to enable them to make informed decisions. 

For more information head to the RBS Landowner Information Service webpage.

Department for Energy and Mining

Guidelines: landowner rights and access arrangements in relation to mineral exploration and mining in South Australia – PDF document

Understanding mineral exploration: information for farm businesses and the community – PDF document