Proposals back genuine small-scale miners

Published Thursday, 10 November, 2022 at 02:22 PM

Minister for Resources
The Honourable Scott Stewart

Queensland’s small-scale miners will continue to operate mining claims as a suite of proposals hits the table to support genuine miners.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said mining claims would remain in the state’s mining laws and a moratorium on new claims would end as scheduled on November 24.

“The 12-month moratorium has served its purpose and allowed government to talk to communities, landholders and small-scale miners about the best way forward,” Mr Stewart said.

“I would particularly like to acknowledge the valuable contribution that Mayor Kerry Hayes and the Central Highlands Regional Council have made throughout this process.

“We’re proposing a suite of possible changes from these discussions over the past 12 months.

“Queensland has a long history of small-scale mining, particularly for opals, sapphires and other gemstones in central and western Queensland.

“These proposals aim to back genuine miners as well as delivering for everyone else related to small-scale mining – landholders, local communities, and local businesses.”

“The proposed changes also aim to address issues for local communities, such as claim holders building permanent structures and living on claims rather than mining them and holders abandoning sites, leaving them for the taxpayer to clean up.”

The proposed changes are available in the discussion paper released today.

Proposals include:

  1. small-scale miners proving they can afford, and are equipped, to mine a claim before it’s granted
  2. clarifying what miners can do and what they can build on claims
  3. fines for minor offences including untidy and unkempt sites
  4. options for new fossicking areas.

The discussion paper also seeks input on how a transition would work for miners with existing mining claims.

Queensland has almost 2000 mining claims, most of them for hand-mining, and about 14 per cent for machinery mining. About 80 per cent of all claims are in the Central Queensland gemfields. 

Over the past year the Queensland Government has also been working with the Central Highlands Regional Council on the joint planning study for the Gemfields region.

Consultation on the discussion paper is open until 24 February.

Visit for more information and details on how to comment on the proposals.