New guide for land ac­cess

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag Life -

Vic­to­rian Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion has wel­comed a trial of a new guide help­ing land­hold­ers ne­go­ti­ate land ac­cess with min­ing ex­plor­ers.

VFF pres­i­dent and Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke said the guide, ac­cessed via the State Gov­ern­ment De­part­ment of Jobs, Precincts and Re­gions web­site, would help both land­hold­ers and ex­plor­ers.

“Farm­ing and min­ing are both vi­tal for the Vic­to­rian econ­omy and ru­ral em­ploy­ment,” he said.

“How­ever, it’s crit­i­cal that sup­port is avail­able to help land­hold­ers work with ex­plor­ers, and that ex­plor­ers bet­ter un­der­stand how to min­imise im­pacts on farms.

“I thank the De­part­ment of Jobs, Precincts and Re­gions for work­ing with the VFF as a key stake­holder, and for be­ing will­ing to trial this new, con­sul­ta­tive ap­proach to land ac­cess.

“With clear and open com­mu­ni­ca­tion and a mu­tual un­der­stand­ing of needs, farm­ing and min­ing can co-ex­ist and the whole com­mu­nity can ben­e­fit.

“The new guide pro­vides clear guid­ance on is­sues such as set­ting farm biose­cu­rity pro­to­cols, man­ag­ing im­pacts on crops, com­pen­sa­tion, and dis­pute res­o­lu­tion.

“It is im­por­tant for farm­ers to un­der­stand that be­fore an ex­plorer can

ac­cess your land, you must pro­vide con­sent.

“I en­cour­age all farm­ers and land­hold­ers to read the new guide to com­mer­cial con­sent agree­ments be­fore they be­gin dis­cussing land ac­cess with ex­plor­ers.

“We en­cour­age all pri­mary in­dus­tries to con­sider how the dif­fer­ent sec­tors can work to­gether for mu­tual ben­e­fit of each party and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.”

Much of west­ern Vic­to­ria in­clud­ing the Wim­mera-mallee is a tar­get of in­ten­sive mineral ex­plo­ration as prospect­ing firms search for gold, cop­per and other valu­able met­als on pri­vate land.

Vic­to­ria’s re­sources sec­tor is grow­ing, with in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­veal­ing more gold be­ing found ev­ery year and more com­pa­nies search­ing to see where mineral de­posits might ex­ist for po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment.

De­mand for min­er­als such as gold and cop­per is in­creas­ing be­cause they are key parts for tech­nol­ogy and re­new­able energy prod­ucts.

The trial of the land-ac­cess tools co­in­cides with a new wave of min­er­als ex­plo­ration in west­ern Vic­to­ria across an area known in ge­o­log­i­cal terms as the Stavely Arc.

Fol­low­ing last year’s Stavely Ground Re­lease, the first of potentiall­y six new Mineral Ex­plo­ration Li­cences has been awarded.

The planned ex­plo­ration spend­ing across all six li­cence ar­eas is ex­pected to be more than $20-mil­lion, bring­ing a boost to re­gional towns through con­sumer ac­tiv­ity.

Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics data showed an­nual mineral ex­plo­ration spend­ing in Vic­to­ria grew to 47.8 per­cent to De­cem­ber 2018, com­pared with 32.6 per­cent growth for all of Aus­tralia dur­ing the same pe­riod.

Gen­er­ally, early-stage ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties, such as map­ping, sam­pling and rock test­ing, are the first steps in es­tab­lish­ing if min­er­als are present.

If fur­ther de­vel­op­ment is con­sid­ered to be eco­nom­i­cally vi­able, it takes many years to progress to­wards min­ing, in­clud­ing meet­ing strict reg­u­la­tory con­trols.

De­tails of ex­plo­ration in west­ern Vic­to­ria and the land­holder tools are at earth­re­sources.vic.gov.au/lan­dac­cess.

DRILLING: Min­er­als ex­plo­ration is oc­cur­ring across west­ern Vic­to­ria.

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