Exploration Permit - Coal - Queensland

Service summary

This permit is required to explore or investigate a specified area of land for the discovery of coal.

Please note the permit does not permit you to mine for and produce coal, you are only permitted to explore.

Service type


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

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.
Specified area of Land

an area of land determined by the Department in the grant of the Exploration Permit.

Eligibility requirements

You must be either:

  • a natural person at least 18 years of age, or
  • a registered company (including a registered foreign company)


This permit can be transferred.

You must be either:

  • a natural person at least 18 years of age, or
  • a registered Company (includes a registered foreign company)

Ministerial consent of a prior approval of assignment is required.

You can transfer this permit by submitting a completed "Assignment of Exploration Permit or Mineral Development Licence" to the Minister for the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

Stamp duty must be paid on the transfer, therefore the transfer must be processed and stamped by the Office of State Revenue before it is submitted to the Minister.

A statement as to monetary consideration must be submitted with the application.

An application to transfer the Environmental Authority must be submitted.

Required after applying but before transfer is granted:

  • possible replacement of financial assurance
  • exploration permit documentation
  • further information will be requested.


The maximum period is for 5 years and the permit may be renewed.


You will need to pay an application fee.  You can obtain information on all current applicable fees from the agency or from the Mineral Resources Regulation 2003 Schedule 6.


An exploration permit for coal may only be applied for through a competitive tender process.  In the case of highly prospective coal areas, the tender will have a cash bidding component.

You can obtain this permit by submitting a completed tender application through the Queensland Government QTenders website.

If the tender includes a cash bidding component, the applicant must submit a cash bid with the application.

The latest version of the application forms can be downloaded from the department website or by contacting your regional or Brisbane district office of the Department.

The following documents must be submitted with the application:

  • proposed work program of exploration and advice on how the program will be carried out
  • a statement specifying the estimated human, technical and financial resources proposed to be committed to during each year of the permit
  • statement of financial position and available technical resources
  • numbers and qualifications of professional and other staff responsible for planning, conducting and reporting for each year of the program
  • a statement about how and when consultation with each owner and occupier or private and public land will be or are likely to be carried out
  • permit holders are required to have an environmental authority unless the area they are apply for is 4 su-blocks or less.  Applicants must complete an EA form and attach supporting documentation.  This form and supporting documentation must be submitted with your permit application.

Further information about apply for an exploration permit may be obtained by reading the mineral and coal exploration guideline which can be downloaded at the Department's website.

Any person interested in obtaining mining tenure is advised to contact the relevant mining registrar or departmental staff for further information before lodging any application.

You must lodge a financial assurance and accept terms and conditions before approval is granted. Compliance with the native title process is also required.

Additional information

An Exploration Permit can be surrendered at any time.  Surender must be accompanied with an Application to Surrender the Environmental Authority.

A monthly update of the locality and holders of all Exploration Permits issued in Queensland is available from the Department for the separate categories of coal, minerals and petroleum.

Section(s) of Act

Chapter 4 Exploration Permits and Part 3 Obtaining exploration permit for coal

Regulation Section(s)

Part 5 Exploration Permits, Schedule 4A Schedule 5 and Schedule 6


Administering agency

Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Service Delivery
Exploration Management Unit

Act(s) name

Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Queensland)

Regulation(s) name

Mineral Resources Regulation 2013 (Queensland)

Contact details

Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Service Delivery
Exploration Management Unit


13 QGOV (13 74 68)

Supporting information


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