An explorer must apply to the NSW Government for an exploration licence before it can explore for minerals or petroleum in NSW.


It is NSW Government policy to allow the public to comment on exploration licence applications.


Submissions received at this stage will be provided to the explorer which may respond to the issues raised in the submission.


For more information on exploration licence applications see the chapter:

What Happens at the Pre-Exploration Stage?


When can I make a submission at the pre-exploration stage?

You can make a submission on an exploration licence application within 28 days of the application being published.


For mineral exploration applications, public notice of the application must be published in one State-wide newspaper and one local newspaper within 45 days of the application having been lodged.


For petroleum exploration applications there is no requirement that notice of the application be published. However, applications are published on the Department of Industry website and in newspapers.

For more information on the status of coal, minerals and petroleum titles in NSW visit:

NSW Department of Industry – Title status reports


What should my submission at the pre-exploration stage include?

At this stage your submission should only address the potential impacts of exploration activity, and not any possible future mining or petroleum production on the site.


The NSW Government has stated that comments about possible future mining or petroleum production will be disregarded.


The decision maker in relation to exploration licence applications is the NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, and there are certain issues the Minister must take into account when considering an exploration licence application. It is recommended your submission address these issues directly.


In coming to their decision the Minister must consider the need to protect the environment, including protection of:


  • flora;

  • fauna;

  • fish and fisheries;

  • scenic attractions; and

  • areas of Aboriginal, architectural, archaeological, historical or geological interest.[i]


You also may want to think about and include comments in your submission in relation to:


  • potential social or economic impacts on the community;

  • impacts of exploration activities on the environment;

  • if there are any threatened species or ecological communities in the exploration area;

  • significant landscape, environmental, cultural or heritage features in the exploration area that need to be protected;

  • the past performance and conduct of the applicant.


Where do I make my submission?

At the pre-exploration stage you can make a submission in relation to an exploration proposal:


Online at:

Online form got public comments on coal and petroleum titles


By mail to:

The Manager Coal & Petroleum Titles and Systems

Postal Address: PO Box 344, Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310


By fax to:

(02) 4931 6776


By email to:


How Can I Have My Say When Development Consent is Sought for Certain Coal Seam Gas Exploration Activities?

Coal seam gas exploration activities that are State Significant Development will require development approval as well as an exploration licence.[ii] This is the exception rather than the rule.


State Significant Developments are a category of development that has a higher environmental impact due to the scale of the development.  


For more information on State Significant Development see the page:

State Significant Development


To obtain approval, an exploration company must submit a Review of Environmental Factors to the Department of Resources and Energy for approval. If the Review of Environmental Factors demonstrates that there will be a significant environmental impact, then an Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared.


If an Environmental Impact Statement is required:

  • The Environmental Impact Statement will go on exhibition for 30 days

  • You will be able to make a submission during this time if you believe other factors need to be taken into account. 


For more information on Environmental Impact Statements currently on public exhibition see:

EISs on Exhibition


How Can I Have My Say When an Exploration Licence is Being Renewed?

There is no formal public comment and submission process when an exploration licence is being renewed.


However, it may still be useful to write to the Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy to object to the renewal or raise concerns about conditions on the previous exploration licence.  


The Minister will take into consideration whether the exploration company has broken the law or any conditions of the previous licence, or whether they provided false or misleading information when renewing an exploration licence.


When considering an application to renew an exploration licence the Minister will take into account the same environmental factors listed above which apply to a new application for an exploration licence.



[i]  Mining Act 1992 (NSW) s 237; Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991(NSW) s 74

[ii] Sch 1, cl 6 SEPP (State and Regional Development) 2011