UNDERSTANDING LICENCE INFORMATION
 
Title types and codes (petroleum)

Petroleum titles and title applications you might find using the NSW Titles Viewer include:

 

Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority

PSPAPP – Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority Application.

PSPA – Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority.

 

A Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority gives the holder the exclusive right to conduct desktop surveys using existing research or other low-impact scientific investigations to determine the existence of petroleum in the area of the authority.

 

A Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority can be granted for a period up to 12 months and renewed for a further period if justified.

 

Petroleum Exploration Licence

PELA – Petroleum Exploration Licence Application.

PEL – Petroleum Exploration Licence.

 

A Petroleum Exploration Licence gives the holder the exclusive right to explore for petroleum (including conventional and coal seam gas) within the exploration licence area during the term of the licence.

 

The purpose of exploration is to locate areas where resources may be present and establish the quality and quantity of those resources and the viability of extracting the resource.

 

The grant of an Exploration Licence does not carry an entitlement for a Production Lease, nor does it guarantee a Production Lease will be granted within the Exploration Licence area. However, it does permit well construction and flow-testing to evaluate viability subject to separate assessment and approval.

 

A Petroleum Exploration Licence can be granted for a period up to six years, and can be renewed.

 

Petroleum Assessment Lease

PALA - Petroleum Assessment Lease Application.

PAL - Petroleum Assessment Lease.

 

A Petroleum Assessment Lease caters for situations between exploration and production.

 

The lease allows the holder to maintain a title over a potential project area, without having to commit to further exploration. The holder can, however, continue exploration to further assess the viability of commercial production.

 

An assessment lease may be appropriate where:

 

  • a resource has been proven and the feasibility of production has been established, but the project is not currently viable, although it has potential to be developed in the foreseeable future; or

  • there are areas of potential which are natural extensions to existing operations or projects, but it is currently impractical to apply for a production lease.

 

A Petroleum Assessment Lease can be granted for a period up to six years, and can be renewed.

Petroleum Production Lease

PPLA – Petroleum Production Lease Application.

PPL – Petroleum Production Lease.

 

A Petroleum Production Lease gives the holder the exclusive right to extract petroleum within the production lease area during the term of the lease.

 

Since all petroleum production is State Significant Development, development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 must be in place before a Petroleum Production Lease can be granted.

 

A Petroleum Production Lease can be granted for a period up to 21 years.

 

Title types and codes (mineral)
 

Mineral titles and title applications you might find using the NSW Titles Viewer could include:

 

Exploration Licence

ELA – Exploration Licence Application.

EL – Exploration Licence.

 

An Exploration Licence gives the holder the exclusive right to explore for the specified mineral group or groups within the exploration licence area, during the term of the licence.

 

The purpose of exploration is to locate areas where mineral resources may be present, to establish the quality and quantity of those resources and to investigate the viability of extracting the resource.

 

The granting of an exploration licence does not grant any right to mine, nor does it guarantee a mining lease will be granted within the exploration licence area.

 

An Exploration Licence can be granted for a term up to six years.

 

Assessment Lease

ALA – Assessment Lease Application.

AL – Assessment Lease.

 

An assessment lease is designed to cater for situations between exploration and mining. The lease allows the holder to maintain an authority over a potential project area without having to commit to further exploration. The holder can, however, continue exploration to further assess the viability of commercial mining.

 

The assessment lease may be appropriate where a mineral resource has been proven and the feasibility of mining established but the project is not currently viable, although it has potential to be developed in the foreseeable future, or there are areas of mineral potential which are natural extensions to existing operations or projects, but it is currently impractical to apply for a mining lease.

 

An Assessment Lease can be granted for a period of up to five years.

 

Mining Lease

MLA – Mining Lease Application.

ML – Mining Lease.

 

A Mining Lease gives the holder the exclusive right to mine for specific minerals within the mining lease area during the term of the lease.

 

In addition to allowing mining, a mining lease permits prospecting operations and prescribed mining activities to be conducted in association with mining operations.

 

Development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 must be in place before a mining lease can be granted.

 

A mining lease area may also include any associated infrastructure and must be consistent with the development consent.

 

A mining lease can be granted for a period of up to 21 years.

 

Mineral Claim

MC – Mineral Claim.

 

Mineral Claims can only be granted within Mineral Claims Districts.16 There are currently only two Mineral Claims Districts in NSW, one at Lightning Ridge and one at White Cliffs.

 

A Mineral Claim is a title that allows the claim holder to prospect and mine for minerals including opals. Mineral Claims are smaller in size than opal prospecting licences (they cannot have an area of more than 2 hectares) as they are typically used for mining identified localised deposits.

 

A Mineral Claim cannot be granted over:

 

  • land that is found to be agricultural land after an

    objection by a landholder; or

  • the surface of any land that has a dwelling house

    that is the principal place of residence of the person occupying the land, woolshed or shearing shed on or within 200 metres of it;

  • land that has a garden on or within 50 metres of it;

  • land on which is situated any significant improvement other than an improvement constructed or used for mining purposes only.

 

The holder of a Mineral Claim can, subject to the

conditions of the Claim:

 

  • prospect or mine for the mineral/s to which the claim is granted (for example, opals), or

  • erect buildings and structures, or

  • exercise any rights over easements, or

  • remove any timber, stone and gravel from the claim area, or

  • carry out any mining purpose.

 

Without the consent of the landholder, the holder of a

Mineral Claim is not authorised to:

 

  1. use water artificially conserved on the land, or

  2. fell trees, strip bark or cut timber on the land.

 

If consent is refused, the holder of the Mineral Claim can apply for a determination by the Land and Environment Court.

 

The holder of a Mineral Claim cannot:

 

  1. graze horses on the land, or keep any dog that

    is not under effective control on the land (unless it is securely fenced), or

  2. remove rock or earth from the land, except in connection with mining operations, without the consent of the landholder.

 

The holder of a Mineral Claim is also entitled to a right of way between the Mineral Claim area and a public road. The right of way should follow, wherever possible, existing roads or tracks. If these access routes intercept fences, the Mineral Claim holder must ensure that substantial gates or grids are placed to prevent stock from straying. If the fence-line is rabbit, marsupial or dog-proof, then the intersections must comply with this.

 

A Mineral Claim can be granted for a period of up to five years[i].

 

Mineral groups
 

An exploration licence grants the holder an exclusive right to explore for the specific mineral group or mineral groups for which the title is granted.

 

Schedules 1 and 2 of the Mining Regulation 2010  prescribe what are ‘minerals’ and ‘groups of minerals’ for the purposes of their definition in the Mining Act 1992.

 

There are 11 mineral groups, including geothermal energy, a full list of which can be found at the end of this section.

 

For a full list of mineral groups see:

Mineral groups

 

Expired titles
 

The NSW Titles Viewer and other sources list information about mineral or petroleum titles including the date on which the title was granted, last renewed and when it expires.

 

In some cases the expiry date of the title will have passed, which leads some landholders to assume the title is not current and, potentially, that the mineral or petroleum explorer is operating without authority.

 

However, titles can generally be renewed subject to the mineral or petroleum explorer making a renewal application to the NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy and both the Mining Act 1992 and Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 provide that a title remains active while a renewal application is under consideration.[ii]

 

Privately owned minerals

 

In some cases a title code might include the acronym MO. For example, a ‘E(MO)L’ is an Exploration (Mineral Owner) Licence.

 

In a very small number of cases mineral rights are privately owned by the landholder, and the landholder is able to apply for a title to explore for and produce that mineral.

 

For further information on the ownership of minerals and petroleum in NSW see:

Who owns the minerals and petroleum in NSW?

 

 

[i]    Mining Act 1992 (NSW) s 193

[ii]   Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1992 (NSW) s 20; Mining Act 1992 (NSW) s 117

 

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