Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative

Program Update

  • The Minister for Resources has lifted the temporary hold on mineral exploration applications over ground in the Stavely Project Area.
  • On 2 May 2022, this ground became available for exploration applications as per the normal mineral exploration processes and requirements that operate across Victoria.
  • Exploration is not permitted in national parks, wilderness parks, or state parks.
  • Explorers must obtain consent of landholders before accessing private property.
  • The lifting of the temporary hold on mineral exploration applications completes the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative that commenced in 2015.
  • Between May and June 2022, the Geological Survey of Victoria will continue to hold information sessions about land access landholders' rights and opportunities should an explorer seek access to their properties.

Minister for Resources Media Release 4 March 2022: More minerals exploration to scale up renewables and tech.

Departmental Media Release 13 July 2022 Western Victoria minerals applications to open for comment.

For a full list of applications currently open for public comment, please visit have your say on new licence applications.

Learn more about the lifting of the temporary hold on ground in the Stavely Project Area.

Map of the Stavely Project Area indicating towns, areas available for minerals exploration licence applications, local government areas, and restricted or unavailable crown lands

Minerals exploration and development are important to Victoria’s economy. Exploration projects bring investment and jobs to regional areas and communities. Currently around half of the state is under exploration.

Through the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative, the department has taken an integrated approach between 2015 and 2022 to ensure:

  • responsible explorers are attracted to the Stavely Arc region in western Victoria, and
  • local communities and stakeholders in the area have a high degree of information and awareness of the initiative, landholder rights and environmental protections.

Key steps included:

  • Building on the long mineral exploration history of the region with new geoscientific investigations undertaken between 2015 and 2018. The research indicates there is potential for copper, other metals and gold in western Victoria. Read more about the Stavely geoscience project.
  • From 2015, the government progressively placed a hold on exploration applications for ground within the Stavely Project Area to enable the orderly and optimal development of the area. Read more about Section 7 exemptions.
  • Undertaking local community and stakeholder engagement to understand the factors important to local communities in the area. This includes informing landholders about their rights and supporting public confidence about future minerals exploration. Read more about the community engagement program.
  • Holding the Stavely Ground Release in 2018 through a competitive, merit-based tender. Six of the 11 blocks within the Stavely Project Area were awarded. Read more about the tender process.

Lifting the Stavely Project Area exemption

On 4 March 2022, the Minister for Resources announced the removal of the temporary hold on mineral exploration applications for ground within the Stavely Project Area.

The hold on mineral exploration applications was authorised under Section 7 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.

The Government Gazettal revoking the Section 7 exemption permits exploration licence applications to be received by Earth Resources Regulation.

Now gazetted, exploration and mining companies can submit exploration licence applications through the standard licensing system, with a tenement acreage of their choosing.

Between 2015 and 2018 the Stavely Geoscience collaborative project was completed by the Geological Survey of Victoria, Geoscience Australia, and other partners. The project produced a suite of pre-competitive geoscience data, a Regional Synthesis and a 3D geological model of the area.

The Geological Survey of Victoria has completed a summary of the geology and prospectivity of the area made available for exploration licence application from 2 May 2022. Mineral occurrences identified in the area include copper, other base metals, gold, mineral sands , and gypsum. However, significant geoscientific investigations and data analysis will need to be completed to confirm any commercially viable resource.

Read more about Section 7 exemptions.

Applying for an exploration licence

In Victoria, minerals explorers must hold a licence before they can begin their activities.

These licences relate to a defined parcel of land, which may include privately owned and/or Crown (i.e., government owned) land. Licences are granted and managed by the Victorian Minister for Resources, through Earth Resource Regulation.

Exploration licences are generally granted for five years, with the option to renew the licence usually for a further five years.

Exploration is not permitted in national parks, wilderness parks, or state parks. Explorers must obtain the consent of landholders before accessing private property.

For further information, refer to the minerals exploration application process.

The department anticipates that the lifting of the Stavely Section 7 exemption may result in competing licence applications over the same tenement area. Applicants are encouraged to read Earth Resources Regulation’s interim Operational Policy for Competing Licence Applications to familiarise themselves with how competing licence applications are considered and ranked.

Page last updated: 30 May 2023