Retention Licence (Offshore Minerals) - New South Wales

Service summary

You may require this licence if you intend to explore for minerals or recover minerals in NSW's offshore area. NSW's offshore area extends to three nautical miles from the coastal baseline. If you intend to undertake exploration activities outside this area, you will need to apply for a licence under Commonwealth legislation.

A retention licence is a holding title for a mineral resource. You may intend to apply for a retention licence if you have identified a mineral resource, but are unable to mine or explore the resource until a later date. A retention licence will allow you more time in which to plan to develop the resource and to obtain financing.

A retention licence does not authorise the recovery of minerals as part of a commercial mining operation. It does not apply to the recovery of petroleum. Your licence will specify the range of activities you are authorised to undertake.

Licence areas are based on a graticular boundary (or block) system. You may apply for a retention licence for a group of blocks only if the group forms a discrete area, and there are no more than 20 blocks in the group.

Please consult the Contact Officer for more information.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for this licence you must:

  • hold an exploration licence in respect of the block or blocks you are applying for
  • provide details of reasons why you are applying for a retention licence rather than a mining licence
  • provide details of the mineral deposit you have identified and whether it is commercially viable in the longer term
  • provide details of the work programme you have carried out under your exploration licence and the activities you intend to carry out in the future
  • provide details of the amount of money you intend to spend
  • provide details of your technical qualifications
  • provide details of your financial resources.

Please consult the Contact Officer for more information regarding eligibility requirements.



Please consult the Contact Officer for information on fees to be submitted.



Application for a Retention Licence (Offshore Minerals) - Please consult directly with the Contact Officer for a copy of this document.

Administering agency

Department of Planning and Environment
Division of Resources and Energy
Mineral Resources

Act(s) name

Offshore Minerals Act 1999 (New South Wales)

Contact details

General Enquiries
Department of Planning and Environment
Division of Resources and Energy
Mineral Resources

Operating address:
516 High Street
Maitland, New South Wales 2320
Mailing address:
PO Box 344
Hunter Regional Mail Centre
NSW 2310


02 4931 6666

Toll Free:

1300 736 122


02 4931 6790


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