The NSW Department of Planning and Environment says an application to explore the Hastings for metallic minerals is still in the early stages of the assessment process.
A department spokesperson said exploration licence (EL) applications usually take one to two months to process after all the information has been approved by the applicant. Baldock Fe’s application was received in early April.
Baldock have applied to explore 75 square kilometres of land and Cazaly Resources have informed the Australian Stock Exchange of the licence application.
The application proposes to explore metallic minerals listed as “group 1” under Mining Regulation and includes metals such as cobalt, cadmium, iron minerals, gold and many more.
The department said an EL gives the licence holder exclusive rights to explore for specific minerals or coal within a designated area.
“ELs do not permit mining, nor do they guarantee a mining or production lease will be granted,” the spokesperson said.
“The purpose is to locate areas where mineral and petroleum resources may be present, to establish the quality and quantity of those resources, and to investigate the viability of extracting the resource.
“Exploration often initially involves a range of activities that do not disturb land such as geochemical and geophysical surveys including rock sampling, soil sampling, land mapping using low flying helicopters or light aircraft.
“If a company requests drilling activities as a part of its exploration, a separate application is submitted to DRG, including an environmental assessment.
“These types of exploration licences are granted subject to standard and/or special conditions, including strict environmental management conditions to protect native vegetation, fauna, land, water resources, heritage and community values.
“It’s important to note, national parks are protected from any mining activity, including exploration, on any new titles under NSW legislation. An explorer must obtain all necessary land access approvals required under NSW legislation.
“All applications for ELs are submitted to NSW Government Division of Resources and Geoscience (DRG).
“DRG assesses any application under the Mining Act and considers the technical and financial capabilities of the company to undertake the exploration, and the environmental performance of the company and its directors in previous projects.
“If the EL is granted, DRG will make a notice in the NSW Government Gazette.
“If an EL is granted, the company is required by law and NSW Government policy to consult with the community, councils and any affected landowners or title holders. Consultation is monitored by the NSW Government. Companies are required to submit an annual community consultation report.”
Fairfax Media has contacted the mining consultants and Cazaly Resources for comment.
Details of the application and its location can be found on the Division's common ground application: http://commonground.nsw.gov.au/