Opal mining in South Australia is administered by DEM in accordance with the Opal Mining Act. The Opal Fields Program is based in Coober Pedy, with regional services provided to Andamooka and Mintabie. DEM administers the Mintabie Town Lease and has delegations under the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981 and Mintabie Township Lease Agreement.

Figure 19: Categories of opal field administrative activities FY2021–22

Table 15: Opal mining revenue raised FY2021–22

Coober Pedy $187,187
Andamooka $52,721
Mintabe $2,928
Total revenue$242,836

Court actions

Escalated matters of noncompliance under the Opal Mining Act are managed by the Opal Mining Registrar who initiates Warden’s Court actions.

This includes regular phone conferences and by sittings of the Warden’s Court in Coober Pedy and Andamooka twice a year. Opal miners can also initiate their own actions in the Warden’s Court. These matters usually relate to suspension of working conditions, amalgamation of tenements or partnership disputes.

In 2021–22 DEM raised 28 court actions. Of these actions, 16 matters were dismissed, and 12 claims forfeited. DEM also attended 28 court hearings.

Opal fields compliance

DEM conducts compliance activities to provide assurance to the government, opal miners and community stakeholders that opal mining activities are complying with the appropriate Acts and regulations. Noncompliance identified through surveillance, complaints, incidents and alleged breaches was investigated for 1,198 claims (first and second inspections).

Opal claim locations

Figure 21: Opal administrative activities 2017 to 2021

Table 16: Compliance summary of first and second inspections for opal field activities FY2021–22

A first inspection is undertaken to check for compliance against the Opal Mining Act and opal mining regulations.
A second inspection is carried out to ensure rectifications have been implemented if the first inspection deems the operation as noncompliant.

Inspections Coober PedyMintabieLambinaAndamookaTotal
First inspection compliant 645 7 0 179 831
First inspection noncompliant 159 3 0 42 204
Second inspection compliant 91 0 0 34 125
Second inspection noncompliant 14 0 0 3 17
Total 909 10 0 258 1177

Figure 22: Opal occurrences in South Australia as at 30 June 2022

Opal occurrences in South Australia