Lease and licence applications

Exploration licences

  • The three exploration regulation fee zones are available on the South Australian Resource Information Gateway (SARIG) and are described in the table below.

    Exploration zone Regulation fee
    Exploration regulation fee zone 1: Licences within any part of the state not within Zone 2 or 3 The greater of $565 or $13.10 per square kilometre or part of a square kilometre per annum
    Exploration regulation fee zone 2: Licences within the Geological Survey of South Australia’s Gawler Craton Airborne Survey (GCAS) boundary, but not within Zone 3 The greater of $757 or $17.50 per square kilometre or part of a square kilometre per annum
    Exploration regulation fee zone 3: Licences within both a 200-kilometre radius of the Olympic Dam mine site and within the GCAS boundary The greater of $953 or $22.10 per square kilometre or part of a square kilometre per annum
  • You can find what zones your tenement intersects using the exploration fee zones map on South Australian Resource Information Gateway (SARIG).

  • When a tenement intersects one or more of the three new exploration regulation fee zones, the higher fee will apply for the entire licence.

  • All current tenement holders/exploration licence holders are subject to the new fees.

    From 1 January 2020 the new fee rates will apply at the next anniversary date of the tenement’s grant. As a result the invoice each licence holder receives for the annual regulation fee will be calculated based on the zone(s) the licence is in. When a tenement intersects one or more of the three new exploration regulation fee zones, the higher fee will apply for the entire licence.

  • When an exploration licence is granted it is subject to the annual regulation fee payable at the grant date. For example, if a licence is granted prior to 1 January 2020 it will be subject to the annual regulation fees applicable to 31 December 2019. However, if a licence is granted on or after 1 January 2020 it will be subject to one of the three regulation fee zones and will be charged the relevant fee.

    After 1 January 2020 all licences will be subject to the new zones and even if they were granted prior to 1 January 2020 they will be charged the annual regulation fee based on the zone(s) the licence is in for the second and subsequent years' fees.

  • Mineral leases

  • Find out if your tenement is inside a council area using this map: https://www.lga.sa.gov.au/councilmaps

  • Refers to a 'reserve' within the meaning of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. Find out where parks and reserves are on this map: https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park#/map

  • Detail on how to calculate the capital cost of an application is in the appendices of Form 10 (application for a mining lease) (PDF, 668.9 KB).

  • Extractive mineral leases

  • For the purpose of determining an extractive mineral lease application fee, the proposed annual production rate is the figure stated in the mining proposal (MP) document. The annual production rate should be stated in tonnes per annum. An annual production rate of greater than 100,000 tonnes per annum aligns with the trigger for when an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) licence is required for extractive industries.

  • Rent payable

    Rent payable under the Mining Act 1971 by tenement holders

  • All rental collected by the Minister is paid into Treasury general revenue unless that lease or licence is granted over freehold land or native title land that is held in exclusive possession. In these cases, 5% of the rental is retained by Government and the remaining 95% is disbursed to the relevant owners of the land.

    From 1 January 2020, the practice of not charging the full rental to tenement holders who are also the freeholder owner of the relevant land will cease. This means that where a holder of a mining lease, retention lease or miscellaneous purpose licence is also the holder of the freehold land, the Minister will now invoice the tenement holder for 100% of rental fees, rather than invoicing for 5% as has occurred in the past and there will be no entitlement to distribution of rent.

    This applies where a tenement holder and the owner of the freehold land are the same legal entity or natural person. This extends to related body corporates where the tenement holder is a company incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Section 50 of the Corporations Act defines bodies as being related where a body corporate is:

    (a) a holding company of another body corporate; or
    (b) a subsidiary of another body corporate; or
    (c) a subsidiary of a holding company of another body corporate.

    Natural persons

    Natural persons where the same person is a tenement holder and an owner of the land, irrespective of whether the tenement or the land is owned in whole or part by that person are affected by this change.

    • Example - 95% return: Mr Doug Brown holds an extractive minerals lease over freehold land owned by his wife Mrs Karen Brown. Doug will pay 100% of the rent, and his wife Karen will receive the 95% return.
    • Example – No return: Mr Doug Brown holds an extractive minerals lease over freehold land owned by himself and his wife. Doug will pay the full rental amount and there is no rent returned to either himself or his wife.
  • Freehold landowners with no relationship to the tenement holder are not affected.

  • Trust or self-managed superfund

    Whilst real property can be held in a trust or self-managed super fund, the Real Property Act 1886 (SA) forbids the registration of beneficial interest on the title. Consequently, whilst the land may be held in a trust or a self-managed superannuation fund, the registered titleholder will be the trustee.

    • Example – No return: Brown Earthmovers Pty Ltd holds an extractive minerals lease over freehold land owned by Brown Earthmovers Pty Ltd (as trustee for the Brown Family Trust or the Brown Family Super Fund). Brown Earthmovers Pty Ltd will pay rental, and there is no rent returned as the trustee company will appear on the title.

    Directors or shareholders

    The changes do not apply to the relationship between a shareholder or director and a company.

    • Example - 95% return: Brown Earthmovers Pty Ltd holds an extractive minerals lease over freehold land owned by director Mr Doug Brown. Brown Earthmovers Pty Ltd will pay 100% of the rental, and the company director, Doug, will receive the 95% return.

    Subsidiaries and parent companies

    The changes recognise related bodies corporates under the Corporations Act.

    • Example - No return: Brown Earthmovers Limited holds an extractive minerals lease over freehold land owned by Brown Earthmovers South Australia Pty Ltd. Brown Earthmovers Limited will pay rental, and there is no rent returned as Brown Earthmovers South Australia Pty Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown Earthmovers Limited.
    • Example - No return: Brown Earthmovers South Australia Pty Ltd holds an extractive minerals lease over freehold land owned by Brown Earthmovers Limited and Brown Construction Limited. Brown Earthmovers South Australia Pty Ltd will pay rental, and there is no rent returned as Brown Earthmovers Limited is a part-owner of Brown Earthmovers South Australia Pty Ltd.
  • Programs for environment protection and rehabilitation (PEPRs)

    PEPR fees

  • If a PEPR relates to multiple tenements, only one fee will be charged per PEPR. If the PEPR combines multiple types of tenement (eg ML, EML, MPL, RL) it will incur the fee equivalent to the primary associated production tenement.

  • Valid PEPRs and E-PEPRs that have been submitted prior to 1 January 2020 will not attract a PEPR assessment fee.

  • Mining PEPRs, quarrying PEPRs or exploration PEPRs (E-PEPRs) which combine newly granted tenements with existing tenements (where the existing tenements already have an approved PEPR) will incur the PEPR review fee applied to the entire operation.

    For E-PEPRs, you may not be able to add a new tenement to a currently approved E-PEPR. This can occur when tenements are contiguous or nearly contiguous with the other tenements related to the approved E-PEPR.

  • Exploration PEPRs (E-PEPRs)

  • Mineral exploration programs typically begin with an initial 'low impact' exploration phase in which extensive areas are explored to identify unique small 'target' areas. Activities can include geophysical surveys, mapping, soil sampling etc.

    For this purpose, a program can be adopted for the conduct of low impact exploration operations on all current and future exploration licences known as Ministerial Determination 001, Generic program for environmental protection & rehabilitation - low impact exploration in South Australia (generic PEPR). Explorers only need to conduct activities in accordance with the generic PEPR, no formal submission of an E-PEPR is required.

    Exploration activities that are not within the scope of the generic PEPR and/or are located within certain sensitive environments (eg conservation parks) may require separate approval.

    For further information, refer to DEM's Minerals Regulatory Guideline MG22: Mineral exploration PEPRs and compliance

  • An explorer is required to review an approved exploration PEPR when:

    • A change to operations:
      • is not within scope of or consistent with the exploration operations originally approved
      • requires modification of the environmental aspects described in the approved E-PEPR
      • requires the use of declared equipment not originally assessed
      • results in an increase in the area of disturbance
      • results in an increase in the amount of native vegetation cleared
      • identifies new receptors and/or potential impacts
      • results in a change to the control strategies employed to enable the achievement of environmental outcomes
      • reduces the ability to achieve an environmental outcome (e.g. requires a change to the control strategies employed to achieve the environmental outcomes)
      • requires modification to the approved outcomes or measurement criteria
      • requires a change to an approved E-PEPR as a result of relevant directions from a court decision.
    • New tenements added to the scope of an approved E-PEPR that are contiguous or nearly contiguous with the other tenements related to the approved E-PEPR (ie tenement(s) cover an area that contain similar and/or the same environmental aspects).
    • An administrative change is made to an approved E-PEPR. Changes that constitute an administrative change include:
      • a request for a time extension
      • correction of typographical errors.

    An E-PEPR review will not be accepted (i.e. a new E-PEPR submission required) in the following circumstances:

    • The approved E-PEPR has expired.
    • Changing from a 12 month to an ongoing PEPR (or vice versa).
    • A 3rd time extension is requested.
    • The proposed change to the approved PEPR requires either:
      • referral to DEW or the EPA; and/or
      • approval of the Minister (or delegate) for Environment and Water.
    • The addition of tenement(s):
      • that are not contiguous or nearly contiguous with the other tenements related to the approved E-PEPR (i.e. tenements cover an area with different environmental aspects).

    Fees apply for E-PEPR reviews initiated by the tenement holder or directed by the Minister for Energy and Mining under sections 70C and 73G(4) of the Mining Act.

  • The required fee for the submission of a new E-PEPR or a review of an approved E-PEPR is determined by the location of the proposed exploration operations. Different fees will apply for operations located within:

    • Environmental areas that require referral to the Department and/or Minister for Environment and Water; or
    • Environmental areas that require approval of the Minister for Environment and Water.

    The fees are tiered to reflect scale, complexity, and the associated cost of regulation over the life of the operation. For further information refer to the fee schedule.

  • An E-PEPR (and E-PEPR review) requires referral to the Department for Energy and Water and/or the EPA when exploration operations are planned within the following areas:

    • Prescribed wells area
    • Prescribed water resource area
    • Prescribed watercourses
    • State heritage areas and places
    • Protected areas under the River Murray Act (Murray zone and Tributaries zone)
    • Regional reserve
    • Conservation reserve
    • Vegetation heritage agreement area
    • Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary
    • Adjacent to or within a marine park
    • RAMSAR wetland reserves

    Further information on the above areas is available from

  • An E-PEPR (and E-PEPR review) requires approval of the Minister (or delegate) for Environment and Water when exploration operations are planned within the following areas:

    • Jointly proclaimed national park or conservation park or recreation park

    Further information on the above areas is available from

  • Mining PEPRs and MOPs

  • Administrative changes can include (but not limited to):

    • Update to tenement holder and/or operating company details
    • Change of operating company
    • Amalgamating program notifications into a PEPR (production tenements only)
    • RL PEPR converting to an ML PEPR – change to tenement number
    • Fix typographical errors.

    If you are unsure, please call the Department to discuss.

  • For the purpose of determining a PEPR or MOP fee, the proposed annual production rate is the figure stated in the submitted/proposed PEPR or MOP. The annual production rate should be stated in tonnes per annum.

    An annual production rate of greater than 100,000 tonnes per annum aligns with the trigger for when an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) licence is required for extractive industries.

  • Mining PEPR reviews can be initiated by the tenement holder or directed by the Minister for Energy and Mining (which may be given at any time for any reasonable cause) in accordance with section 70C of the Mining Act.

    PEPRs set out the description of mining operations that are authorised to be undertaken on a mining tenement. They also set out the environmental outcomes and measurement criteria which provide the regulatory and compliance framework for the mining tenement.

    Should you wish to undertake mining operations that are not described in your current approved PEPR, then these will need to be authorised through a PEPR review (subject to compliance with the lease / licence terms and conditions).

    Should you wish to change or alter the description of mining operations in an approved PEPR, this may require a PEPR review depending on the significance of the change.

    Changes or alteration to mining operations that will affect the achievement of environmental outcomes, or require new or modified outcomes, measurement criteria or leading indicator criteria will require a PEPR review.

    For more information, refer to DEM's Mineral Regulatory Guidelines MG2b: Preparation of a program for environment protection and rehabiliation (PEPR) for metallic and industrial minerals (excluding coal and uranium) in South Australia (PDF 3.0 MB)

  • A PEPR is considered to have new or modified environmental outcomes and/or criteria when:

    • the outcomes and/or criteria proposed in the PEPR being submitted are different to those in the currently approved PEPR; or
    • a currently approved PEPR that does not contain outcomes and criteria, is updated to include new environmental outcomes and criteria.
  • A mining lease (ML) or miscellaneous purposes licences (MLP) for the recovery of metallics (excluding coal and uranium), industrial or extractive minerals can transition to a PEPR if it meets any of the following conditions:

    1. Has a PEPR that transitioned by virtue of regulation 114 of the repealed Mining Regulations 2011, being:
      1. an exploration work approval (EWA) under regulation 56(b) of the repealed Mining Regulations 1998; or
      2. a declaration of environmental factors (DEF) imposed under regulation 56(b) of the repealed Mining Regulations 1998 or by a condition attached to an exploration licence (or both); or
      3. a program for mining and rehabilitation of land (MARP) under regulation 42(b) of the repealed Mining Regulations 1998
    2. Has a PEPR that transitioned by virtue of section 70DA of the Mining Act 1971, being:
      1. a development program (ADP) approved under regulation 9 of the Mines and Works Inspection Regulations 2013
    3. Was granted prior to 2011 and does not have a program under part 10A of the Mining Act 1971 and must comply with the transitional provision in schedule 5, clause 7 of the Mining Regulations 2020.

    If a PEPR is being submitted in order to comply with Schedule 5, Clause 7 of the Mining Regulations 2020, then the appropriate transitional PEPR fee applies.

  • Bonds are formally requested of a tenement holder by the Department. The tenement holder should check their formal correspondence which will include the value of the bond that applies to their tenement. If you cannot locate your formal correspondence, please call the Department to discuss.

  • For mineral leases the rehabilitation liability estimate can be found in the currently approved PEPR. If you are unsure, please contact the DEM compliance officer for your operation.

  • To determine the mineral lease PEPR review fee, the larger of the approved PEPR rehabilitation liability estimate (RLE) or bond amount will be used.

  • If there is no current approved PEPR RLE or bond applicable to the tenement, the proposed PEPR RLE in the PEPR submission will be used.

  • To determine the mineral lease PEPR review fee, a combination of whether there are new or modified environmental outcomes and/or criteria and the value of the approved PEPR rehabilitation liability estimate (RLE or bond) are used (please refer to the fee schedule).

  • The rehabilitation liability estimate (RLE) is the maximum third party cost of rehabilitation at any time over the life of mine covered by the PEPR. The estimate must be based on reasonable third party costs of undertaking the rehabilitation strategies as outlined in the PEPR and include costs for project management, inflation, normal project variation and contingency provision for risk.

    For more information, refer to DEM's Mineral Regulatory Guidelines MG2b: Preparation of a program for environment protection and rehabiliation (PEPR) for metallic and industrial minerals (excluding coal and uranium) in South Australia (PDF 3.0 MB)

    Email DEM.MiningRegRehab@sa.gov.au to obtain the most up to date version of DEM’s Rehabilitation Liability Calculator Tool.

  • Fees for standalone PEPRs for miscellaneous purposes licences (MPLs) will be set at the fee that would be payable for the primary associated production tenement.

  • Private mines (MOPs)

  • A MOP review in accordance with section 73G (13 – 15) of the Mining Act 1971 will not attract a fee. However, if a MOP with altered objectives and/or criteria is submitted then a fee for assessment will be required (in accordance with section 73G(4) of the Mining Act 1971).

  • The Mining Act 1971 requires that a draft MOP be released for public consultation on the proposed objective and criteria when that draft relates to new operations (in accordance with section 73G(8)). New operations are considered to be any operations not contemplated under an existing approved MOP that require new or revised objectives and criteria.

  • Section 73G(2)(a) of the Mining Act 1971 requires a MOP to include objectives and criteria for at least all environmental aspects listed in Regulation 80(3) of the Mining Regulations 2011.

    If the objectives and criteria proposed in the MOP being submitted are different to those in the currently approved MOP then the MOP is considered to contain new or modified environmental objectives and criteria and thus this fee structure applies.

    If the currently approved MOP does not contain objectives and criteria the submitted MOP is considered to have new environmental objectives and criteria.

  • Where an operating plan for a private mine is combined in a single MOP/PEPR with related production tenements and adopts a PEPR (rather than MOP) standard, the fee for the first single document MOP/PEPR will be $1,250.

    A subsequent review of an approved single document MOP/PEPR will follow the PEPR review fee structure.

  • Retention lease (RL) PEPRs

  • A retention lease is granted for a lease term not exceeding 5 years and in accordance with one (or more) of the purposes set out in section 41A of the Mining Act. A retention lease will usually be granted with the requirement for a specific program of work to be undertaken.

    Retention lease PEPR reviews can be initiated by the tenement holder or directed by the Minister for Energy and Mining (which may be given at any time for any reasonable cause) in accordance with section 70C of the Mining Act.

    Should you wish to undertake mining operations that are not described in your current approved PEPR, then these will need to be authorised through a PEPR review (subject to compliance with the lease terms and conditions).

    Should you wish to change or alter the description of mining operations in an approved PEPR, this may require a PEPR review depending on the significance of the change.

    Changes or alteration to mining operations that will affect the achievement of environmental outcomes, or require new or modified outcomes, measurement criteria or leading indicator criteria will require a PEPR review.

  • Contact us

    Mineral Tenements Program

    Mail:
    GPO Box 320
    Adelaide
    South Australia 5001

    Email:
    DEM.Tenements@sa.gov.au

    Phone:
    +61 8 8463 3103

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