Mineral Resources Act 1989 - Queensland

Service summary

To provide for the assessment, development and utilisation of mineral resources to the maximum extent practicable consistent with sound economic and land use management.

The Act makes provision for the issuing of permits, licences and leases relating to prospecting, exploration, mining and mineral development and the granting of mining claims. It also provides for compensation to landowners affected by these provisions.

The following Subordinate Legislation should be examined:

  • Mineral Resources Regulation 2003.

Service type

Regulatory Obligation

An obligation defined in law. A business must comply with relevant services.

Definition of terms


To take action to determine the existence, quality and quantity of minerals, on in or under land or in the waters or sea above land by:

  • prospecting
  • using instruments, equipment and techniques appropriate to determine the existence of any mineral
  • extracting and removing from land for sampling and testing an amount of material, mineral or other substance in each case reasonably necessary to determine its mineral bearing capacity or its properties as an indication of mineralisation
  • doing anything else prescribed under a regulation.


  • land within the beds and banks of all streams, watercourses and inundated land
  • land beneath the internal waters of Queensland
  • the sea bed and subsoil to which this Act applies
  • waters in, upon and above land
  • subterranean land. The term, except in sections 9,10, 11 of the Act, does not include a protected area.

To carry on an operation with a view to, or for the purpose of

  • winning mineral from a place where it occurs; or
  • extracting mineral from its natural state; or
  • disposing of mineral in connection with, or waste substances resulting from, the winning or extraction.

Extracting includes the physical, chemical, electrical, magnetic or other way of separation of a mineral, for example, crushing, grinding, concentrating, screening, washing, jigging, tabling, electro winning, solvent extraction, electro winning (SX EW), heap leaching, flotation, fluidised bedding, carbon in leach (CIL) and carbon in pulp (CIP) processing. However, extracting does not include

  • a process in a smelter, refinery or anywhere else by which mineral is changed to another substance; or
  • testing or assaying small quantities of mineral in teaching institutions or laboratories, other than laboratories situated on a mining lease; or
  • an activity, prescribed under a regulation, that is not directly associated with winning mineral from a place where it occurs. A regulation under this subsection (4)(c) may prescribe an activity by reference to the quantities of minerals extracted or to any other specified circumstances. Disposing includes, for example, the disposal of tailings and waste rock.

A substance which normally occurs naturally as part of the earth''s crust or is dissolved or suspended in water within or upon the earth''s crust and includes a substance which may be extracted from such a substance; for example:

  1. clay, if mined for use for its ceramic properties, kaolin and bentonite
  2. foundry sand
  3. coal seam gas
  4. limestone
  5. marble
  6. a product that may be extracted or produced by an underground gasification process for coal or oil shale (mineral (f)) and another product that may result from the carrying out of the process (also mineral (f))
  7. peat
  8. salt including brine
  9. oil shale
  10. silica, including silica sand
  11. rock mined in block or slab form for building purposes.

The term does not include:

  1. living matter
  2. petroleum within the meaning of the Petroleum Act 1923
  3. soil, sand, gravel or rock (other than rock mined in block or slab form for building or monumental purposes) to be used or to be supplied for use as such, whether intact or in broken form
  4. steam or water.

to take action to find out about the existence, quality and quantity of minerals on, in or under land by either or both of the following methods:

  1. using metal detectors or similar hand held instruments; or
  2. sampling using only hand held implements.

The term does not include taking action that is

  1. hand mining; or
  2. the removal of minerals for their sale.
Protected area

Means an area dedicated under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 as aany of the following:

  • a national park (scientific)
  • a national park
  • a national park (Aboriginal land)
  • a national park (Torres Strait Islander land)
  • a national park (recovery)
  • a conservation park.

Additional information

Prospecting permits and mining claims come under the sole jurisdiction of Mining Registrars.

Applications for mining leases must be lodged with the relevant Mining Registrar's office in whose district the land being applied for is situated.

Applications for mineral development licences must be lodged at the relevant Mining Registrar's Office.

Applications for exploration permits may be lodged at any office of a Mining Registrar throughout the State.



Appeal process


Compliance Mechanisms and Penalties:

The Act provides for the appointment of Mining Registrars, Deputy Mining Registrars and other authorised officers who have extensive powers to investigate breaches of the Act. These include entry and search of property and seizure of equipment and of minerals produced without authority.

Failure to comply with directions of an authorised officer may incur a substantial fine.

A substantial fine may be imposed or a licence, permit or lease cancelled if the conditions under which it was issued are contravened.

Cases of illegal mining are prosecuted in the Land Court of Queensland.

Review or Appeal Mechanisms:

Appeals against directions by a Mining Registrar, Deputy Mining Registrar, or other authorised officer can be made to the Land Court of Queensland.

An appeal against a decision made by the Tribunal may be made to the District Court.

A challenge to the validity of a grant of a mining lease by the Governor in Council may be heard in the Supreme Court.

Decisions on determinations for compensation to landowners may be reviewed by the Land Court.

Administering agency

Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Service Delivery
Tenures Quality and Training

Contact details

Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Service Delivery
Tenures Quality and Training


13 QGOV (13 74 68)


Department of Natural Resources and Mines contact list Opens in a new browser window

Supporting information


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