Noteworthy areas under ERA in September 2017

Tasmanian prospectors have to ask for permission from any and all tenement holders that have an interest in the area they want to prospect in. Both I and PMAT, as well as others, have asked Mineral Resources Tasmania to change this and bring us more in line with Victoria, though there’s been no action yet.

Of the tenement types available in Tasmania, it is my opinion that the holders of mining leases and retention licences need to be asked, and it’s up to them to grant permission for anyone entering their land. For all intents and purposes, leased land is virtually private property, and leaseholders pay a large amount of money to lease the land. Both mining leases and retention licences are generally small in area.

Unfortunately we also have to obtain written permission from the holders of exploration licences. This is a major dampener on prospecting, for various reasons:

  • They cover a huge area. Some petroleum and geothermal ELs cover a significant proportion of the State;
  • Companies take out huge exploration licences even though the deposits they are exploring are small and localised. This locks people out unnecessarily;
  • Companies may be headquartered interstate and have no local contacts;
  • There is no requirement for companies to reply to requests to prospect. There is no penalty if they just ignore requests; and
  • Almost all prospective land has exploration licences over it.

Until the law is changed, this is unfortunately what we have to do. Except…

ERA: Exploration Release Areas

Mineral Resources Tasmania use a system of Exploration Release Areas to promote highly prospective ground that companies have relinquished. ERAs vary in size from a few square kilometres to huge. They are offered for a period of no less than two months, and are available for prospecting. Because MRT are often understaffed, ERAs have been staying up for sometimes many months.

Why is this interesting? Because, provided you have a prospecting licence, and the land is not private property, you don’t need any additional permissions in order to prospect inside an ERA!

There are some caveats to this, as a reader has been kind enough to mention: If an area is being offered under ERA for metallic minerals (i.e. gold) and it is also covered with an active exploration licence for a different category of mineral (such as gemstones, petroleum products or geothermal), technically you still require permission from the active EL before prospecting. I have asked MRT to clarify their position.

There are quite a number of ERAs over interesting and prospective parts of Tasmania as of September 2017. Please double-check with MRTmap before setting out and don’t just assume it will still be current. They are often short-lived, and new ones pop up often, as companies relinquish ground.

Here’s a list of ones that I would like to head out to, if only I had the time.

Many of these are inside well known goldfields, and I have personally found gold nuggets inside three of them.

Spring is here. The days are getting longer and warmer… what are you waiting for??? Go and prospect!

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