Prospecting - fossicking in WA

Difference between prospecting and fossicking in Western Australia

The terms ‘prospecting’ and ‘fossicking’ are used interchangeably when searching for minerals, however, the term ‘fossicking’ has a specific definition in the Mining Act, 1978. ‘Fossicking’ refers to the collection of mineral samples or specimens, other than gold or diamonds, for the purpose of a mineral collection, lapidary work or hobby interest. The term ‘prospecting’ ‘includes the search for all minerals including the use of metal detectors.

Both ‘prospecting’ and ‘fossicking’ require a Miner’s Right.

Prospecting and fossicking areas

Miner’s Right holders can prospect on Crown land, which includes pastoral leases. However, when fossicking on Crown land or conservation land, holders need prior written consent from land occupiers.

Prospecting or fossicking on mining tenements can only be carried out with consent from mining tenement holders and cannot  be carried out on reserved land (except where the purpose is a Common, Mining or Public Utility).