The Queensland Government has announced major changes to the way
land in the State is made available for coal and petroleum
exploration and production. Under the 2011-2012 Mid Year Fiscal
and Economic Review, miners will need to bid for the right to
obtain exploration permits for coal, and will be assessed on their
ability to optimise the value of the State's resources.
Here, associate Damian Roe explains what these changes mean for
Queensland's resources sector.
Summary of key points
The 2011-2012 Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review,
released on 13 January 2012, introduces a competitive bidding
tender process for obtaining exploration permits for coal in
Areas for coal exploration will be released several times a
To prevent applications for coal exploration being submitted
while a tender process is introduced, a transitional Restricted
Area 394 (RA394) has been declared over the whole of the
The new competitive bidding process
New exploration permits for coal in Queensland will only be
available in areas of controlled land release through a competitive
bidding process, which is consistent with how land is currently
made available for petroleum and gas exploration.
Additionally, specific areas that the Queensland Government
considers highly prospective for coal will be identified, and land
will be periodically released through a competitive tender process,
subject to a cash bidding condition. This provision will also apply
to future calls for tenders for petroleum and gas authorities to
prospect in areas considered to be highly prospective.
To prevent new applications for coal being submitted while a
tender process is implemented in Queensland, a transitional
Restricted Area 394 (RA394) has been declared over the whole of the
State of Queensland. This means that no new applications
for coal tenure can be made until Queensland moves to a controlled
land release system.
Granted permits and applications existing before 13 January 2012
will not be affected by these reforms, and will continue to be
assessed and progressed under the current legislative
Release of areas for coal exploration
The Queensland Government has indicated that it intends to
release areas for coal exploration several times a year. It
proposes that through the tender process, applicants will be
assessed against set criteria to ensure that the applicant best
able to optimise the value of the State's resources is
selected. However, exactly what the criteria will entail is yet to
Amendments to legislation will be made to give effect to these
changes now that RA394 is in place, including amendments to the
Mineral Resources Act 1989, which will be proposed in a
Changes to fees and levies
Fees and levies have also been increased for services provided
by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and
Innovation, and for the services of the Coordinator-General to
mining and major projects.
The Queensland Government's full 2011-2012 Mid Year
Fiscal and Economic Review and the Treasurer's statement
on the changes can be viewed
online. No further details have been released at this time.
However, we will continue to monitor the changes and will provide
more information as it comes to hand.
It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
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