Victorian Mining Warden
The Mining Warden is an independent statutory office holder appointed by the Governor in Council under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development Act) 1990.
The Mining Warden investigates and attempts to resolve disputes by mediation, conciliation or arbitration. The Mining Warden can also make recommendations to the Minister for Resources.
Licence holders, landowners and community members can bring disputes to the Mining Warden. Disputes must be between:
- a licensee or an applicant for a licence and the department
- a licensee or an applicant and a holder of a miner's right
- a licensee or an applicant and a landowner or occupier
- a licensee and another licensee or applicant for a licence
- an applicant for a licence and another applicant
- a community member directly affected, or likely to be directly affected, by work under a licence and the department.
The Minister and the Department Secretary can also refer matters to the Mining Warden.
See Sections 97, 98, 4 and 25A of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development Act) 1990.
Disputes can be about a range of issues, including:
- the granting or existence of a licence, miner's right or tourist fossicking authority
- the administration of a licence
- the renewal of a licence
- access to land
- compensation for access to land
- the return of rehabilitation bonds
- the boundaries of land covered by a licence or an application.
If you're not sure whether your concern is one you can bring to the Mining Warden, contact their office to discuss.
See Section 4 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development Act) 1990.
The Mining Warden is independent and impartial. He must follow the rules of natural justice and make sure all parties have a fair hearing.
In most disputes, the Mining Warden begins by bringing the parties together for a preliminary hearing and conference. This is an opportunity for the parties involved to outline their concerns, and for the Mining Warden to talk with them, individually and together, about what they think is needed to resolve the dispute.
The Office of the Mining Warden schedules this hearing as promptly as possible, and many disputes are resolved during this process. If the dispute isn't resolved at this time, the Mining Warden will talk with the parties about a process for resolving the dispute.
In investigating and resolving disputes, the Mining Warden can:
- conduct hearings, conciliation conferences, mediations and arbitrations
- summons relevant people to give evidence and/or produce documents
- enter and inspect land
- make an order for the inspection, detention, custody or preservation of minerals
- make an order restraining a person from dealing with or removing minerals from Victoria
- require department employees to produce records or documents and assist where they can
- make a recommendation to the Minister for Resources.
See Section 99 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development Act) 1990.
- There are no fees for the Mining Warden's service.
- The Mining Warden schedules hearings as promptly as possible.
- Hearings are conducted in Melbourne or in regional centres.
- Hearings are usually informal, and participants do not need to be represented by a lawyer.
- Participants may ask the Mining Warden for permission to be represented by a lawyer.
- The Mining Warden may sometimes require evidence to be given under oath.
See Section 100 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development Act) 1990.
To bring a dispute to the Mining Warden, contact the Office of the Victorian Mining Warden by telephone or email. It is helpful if you can give them:
- the name, address and contact number of the people directly involved in the dispute
- the relevant licence number
- a short summary of the dispute
- any relevant documents you have.
For further information, please contact the Office of the Victorian Mining Warden:
Page last updated: 05 Feb 2024