Author Topic: Fossicking Laws across Australia  (Read 2574 times)


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Fossicking Laws across Australia
« on: April 01, 2013, 10:37:59 AM »
Hi All

I've been reading a lot of the info that members have put up on this forum about the different regulations around fossicking in the various states. Most people have asked for information on several basic questions, so I thought it might be useful to have all the info in one place (plus it would make a very good article for my next club newsletter)

1. What is the definition of Fossicking?
2. Where can I go Fossicking?
3. Do I need a permit?
4. How much material can I take?
5. Are there any other restrictions I need to know about when fossicking?

To start this thread I though I would look at South Australia and NSW, since these are the two states that I have had the most experience.

South Australia

1. Fossicking is described as the gathering of minerals as a recreation and which does not disturb the land or water by the use of machinery or explosives, and without the intention to sell the minerals or to utilise them for a commercial or industrial purpose.

2. With the appropriate permission - anywhere in South Australia.

3. No permit is required to fossick within South Australia. However, you must obtain prior permission from landowners before entering their property.

If the land is under an Exploration Lease - permission from the leaseholder is not required if you only wish to fossick. Again see the property owner.

For an active Mining Lease - permission must be gained from the holder of the respective claim, lease or licence.

4. There are no specific bag limits. Discretion is advised to leave some behind for the next fossicker. Removing large amounts would mean that the fossicking is for commercial gain, which then breaks the fossicking law.

5. As with most other states the site must be left as close to how you found it. Backfill any holes, cover over with any removed plants etc. Remove all rubbish.

The website for most of this information is

New South Wales

1. Fossicking is the small scale search for and collection of, minerals, gemstones or mineral bearing material from the surface (or by digging from the surface) with hand-held implements. This activity may only be undertaken for recreational, tourist or educational purposes.

2. As a general rule, fossicking in accordance with the legislation can take place on any land, provided that permission is obtained from the landowner or land manager, except in National Parks where fossicking is prohibited. Note: To fossick in State forests you need permission from Forests NSW, in the form of a special purpose permit.

3. No permit is required (except in the State Forests), however permission must be obtained from the landowner or lease owner if the land is under an active mining lease.

4. Fossicking is limited to taking no more than the amounts prescribed in the Mining Regulation 2009 during any single period of 48 hours. This includes 10 kg of mineral-bearing material, 5 kg of minerals  (other than gold or gemstones), 50 grams of gold (or 5 nuggets of 10 grams or greater) or 100 grams  of gemstones. Gemstones refer to Group 6 and Group 7 minerals listed in Schedule 2 of the Mining  Regulation 2010 and include diamond, sapphire, ruby, corundum and opal.

5. Fossickers are no allowed to damage or remove any bushrock, or cause the disturbance of more than 1 cubic metre of any soil, rock or other material during any single period of 48 hours.

The document that has the details for this information can be found at

There's a start...

Anyone else please contribute about the laws in your state.

Regards Trev
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 11:21:54 AM by darttrev68 »
Cheers, from my little piece of the Australian Outback...
For mineral samples from the Broken Hill, Olary and Mount Painter districts checkout my facebook page


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Re: Fossicking Laws across Australia
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2013, 10:44:01 AM »
After I posted, I noticed that this topic has already been well debated at

Feel free to add to my thread anyway... I mustn't have been fully awake.
Cheers, from my little piece of the Australian Outback...
For mineral samples from the Broken Hill, Olary and Mount Painter districts checkout my facebook page


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Re: Fossicking Laws across Australia
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 09:00:49 AM »
a great idea to have the details on one thread
in victoria   the land of red tape     we must have a miners right   costs around $29 for two years    thats the easy bit   from department of primary industries
the rules     pages long    with lots of 'you can dig here.....but not there'......a good read with a large whiskey and a couple of asprin.....

all available on the net

just search for dpi miners right and off you go

definately don't go out without one.....the other thing their good at in vic is fining people


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