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Mineral Resources Tasmania

Prospecting and fossicking

A prospecting licence allows the holder to conduct fossicking activities for rock and mineral specimens outside of the declared fossicking areas.

These areas and activities are subject to the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 .

A prospecting licence is valid for a period of up to 5 years from date of issue. Persons can choose to take out a prospecting licence for 1,2,3,4 or 5 years and pay the appropriate multiple of the yearly fee.

Prospecting licence forms

Application for Prospecting Licence
Conditions Relating to Prospecting Licences
Approval to Prospect within a Mineral Tenement
Application for Group Prospecting Licence
Activity Report - Group Prospecting

Where can I prospect?

  • Prospecting on private property may only be conducted with the consent of the property owner. Property boundary information can be found at The LIST.
  • Prospecting existing mining leases, retention licences or exploration licences may only be conducted with the consent of the holder of the mineral tenement. Tenement boundary information is available here.
  • Prospecting on land which is subject to an application for an exploration licence or a mining lease may only be conducted with the consent of both the applicant and the Director of Mines. Tenement boundary information is available here.
  • Prospecting is permitted on Permanent Timber Production Zone Land, Future Potential Production forest, Regional Reserves, and in some Conservation Areas.
  • Prospecting is not allowed in National Parks, Nature Reserves, Nature Recreation Areas, Historic Sites, Conservation Covenanted Areas and in public and municipal reserves (tips, cemeteries, etc.).

What prospecting tools are permitted?

  • Only hand prospecting for material is allowed and only hand-held tools may be used. Hand-held and un-motorised sluices less than 1m in length which can be easily carried in the field by an average person may be used. If in doubt please check with MRT prior to their use.
  • The use of explosives is prohibited.
  • The use of mechanised machinery, dredges, sluices, high-bankers, trommels and motorised pumps is prohibited.
  • The use of suction dredges is illegal in Tasmania.

What rules apply to site excavations?

  • Prospectors are to conduct operations in a manner as not to cause or aggravate soil erosion.
  • Excavation on any natural stream bank is not permitted. Banks must not be undermined.
  • Prospecting in roadside gutters, or extraction from road embankments, is not permitted.
  • All care is to be taken in the prospecting of materials and any diggings shall be restored to normal surface level before leaving the area.
  • Excavation in any sinkhole in a karst area or within 10 metres of the entrance of or within any cave is not permitted.

What other rules apply?

  • No vegetation is to be cut or removed.
  • Discovery of mineral and fossil specimens not recognised as common should be referred to Mineral Resources Tasmania.
  • No Aboriginal artefacts or site, or historic relics or site, are to be damaged or removed.
  • No speleothems (stalactites, etc.) are to be removed from caves whether these are previously broken or not. Removal of speleothems is an offence and offenders can be prosecuted.
  • The use of metal detectors is not permitted on reserved lands.
  • Vehicles are not to be taken off formed tracks.
  • No fires are to be lit.