When the 1971 Mining Act commenced, ownership of South Australia’s minerals was transferred to the state to be managed on behalf of South Australians. In recognition of this significant change, the Mining Act introduced a process for people who had lost their mineral rights to apply to retain their mineral rights under certain conditions.

If their application was successful, the Governor proclaimed the area to be a private mine. Whilst changes to the Mining Act in 2020 more closely align the regulatory framework for private mines with those that apply to any other mine, private mines remain distinct from other mining tenements and are regulated under the framework set out in the Mining Act.