A.2.1 Tenure types for coal

The Queensland Mineral Resources Act 1989 is the relevant legislation providing the framework for the exploration, development and tenure of coal resources in Queensland. There are several different types of tenement granted and administered under this Act, and these are summarised below. Further information about relevant legislation for coal tenements is available from the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

An exploration permit for coal (EPC) is issued (usually to a private or publically listed company) for the purpose of allowing exploration work for coal. The permit allows the holder to undertake activities to determine the existence, quality and quantity of coal in the tenement area. This may include prospecting, mapping, geophysical surveys, drilling, and sampling/analysis of materials. These can be granted for up to five years, and can also subsequently be renewed. Depending on the success of the exploration work, part of the EPC may eventually lead to application for a mineral development licence or a mining lease.

A mineral development licence (MDL) is commonly regarded as a precursor to a mining lease. A MDL is used to permit more detailed investigation of mineral occurrences considered to have economic potential for further development. Activities permitted under auspices of a MDL include geoscientific programmes involving drilling and geophysical surveying (e.g. seismic reflection surveys), mining feasibility studies, and environmental, engineering and design studies.

A mining lease (ML) permits mining operations to occur and is granted specifically to extract the type of mineral resource (including coal) targeted by preceding exploration permits or mineral development licences. It effectively entitles the holder to use machinery to mine the specified mineral type, and to conduct the various associated activities of mining. A mining lease is not restricted to a maximum term; rather, the length of time that the ML operates for is determined (case-by-case) based on the amount of identified reserves and the expected life of mine. The size and shape of most mining leases differs based on the characteristics of the deposit.

Last updated:
5 January 2018
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