Exploration Licence (Offshore Minerals) - New South Wales

Service summary

You will require this licence if you intend to conduct mineral exploration activities 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 the Commonwealth legislation.

This licence will authorise you to explore for minerals and take samples of minerals within a specified licence area. A mineral is a naturally occurring substance such as sand, gravel, clay, limestone, rock, evaporate, shale, oil-shale or coal. This licence does not apply to the exploration of petroleum resources. Your licence may restrict the kind of minerals covered.

Licence areas are based on a graticular boundary (or block) system. The minimum size of an exploration licence is one block, and the maximum size is seventy blocks, except in areas not designated as mineralised areas, where the maximum size is 200 blocks.

An exploration licence may be granted over a standard block or over a tender block. A standard block is a block which is vacant, where no permit or licence is currently in force. A tender block is a block subject to a tender block licence notice published by the Agency. The application process varies according to whether you are applying for a standard or tender block. To obtain a licence in respect of a tender block you must successfully pass a competitive tender process.

Please consult the Contact Officer for further 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:

  • Specify the blocks for which you are applying;
  • Provide details of the activities you intend to carry out, and the amount of money you intend to spend;
  • Provide details of your technical qualifications and your employees' qualifications;
  • Provide any technical advice you have available;
  • Provide details of your financial resources;
  • Provide maps relating to the blocks; and
  • Advertise your application in a newspaper circulating throughout the State.

If your application is successful you will be provisionally granted a licence. To accept the licence you must provide the Agency with a written acceptance of the grant. You will be required to lodge a security and pay the prescribed application fees.



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



Exploration 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

Title Services
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 6500


02 4931 6776


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