Costs of landholder participation in land access negotiations
The Mining Act 1992 requires the explorer to pay the reasonable costs of a landholder’s participation in reaching a land access arrangement. These costs relate to the landholder’s time, legal and expert costs. This requirement to pay costs applies to negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and review by the Land and Environment Court (LEC) (if required).
For negotiation, these costs have been capped at $1,500 for exempt prospecting operations and $2,500 for assessable prospecting operations (both exclusive of GST). The title holder must pay the GST amount in addition to the landholder’s capped costs. A title holder can voluntarily pay the landholder more than these caps.
The title holder must pay the reasonable costs of the landholder during mediation, arbitration and the LEC (if required). No cap has been set on these costs. Costs payable by the title holder are determined by the arbitrator or by the court. A landholder’s conduct can be considered when determining the costs and there is a requirement under the legislation for both parties to act in good faith.
Under the legislation, evidence must be presented to the title holder to show that the costs have been incurred.
General immunity of landholders
The Mining Act 1992 s 383C provides landholders with general immunity against actions arising from the actions of title holders on their land.
Summary of landholders’ rights
The normal rights associated with private ownership of property are protected under NSW legislation. Landholders who host exploration on their land can also expect the following rights and protections:
- to have an access arrangement setting out the terms and conditions for an explorer’s access to land before they can begin work
- access to cost effective dispute resolution if an access agreement can’t be reached through initial negotiations
- recourse if the terms of the access arrangement are not met by the explorer
- general immunity against actions arising as a consequence of title holder actions on their land
- their land to be fully rehabilitated.
For further information
Assessments & Systems
Phone: +61 (0)2 4063 6600
Postal: Assessments & Systems, Mining, Exploration and Geoscience, Department of Regional NSW, PO Box 344 Hunter Region Mail Centre NSW 2310
Office: 516 High Street Maitland NSW 2320