OPAL PROSPECTING AREA 4
Opal Prospecting Area 4 (OPA 4) is progressing but very slowly. There are several steps that still need to take place before Opal Prospecting Area 4 can be declared and new areas released. Agricultural land determinations have been completed and those areas that have been determined as agricultural land will be excluded from OPA 4. The Chief Mining Warden will commence his Inquiry into objections based on valuable improvements on 22 February 2005. Those that are determined to be valuable improvements, such as homesteads, shearing sheds, dams etc will also be excluded from the Opal Prospecting Area.
The revised Review of Environmental Factors should be available to the
Department in the near future once the consultants have prepared the final document taking into account the submissions they have received from various stakeholders. The Minister then decides what environmental standards the industry operates under in OPA 4 and what environmentally sensitive areas may need to be protected from mining.
Once the Opal Prospecting Area is declared the Department can put in place Opal Prospecting Blocks but before any area is released it will need to be inspected to protect any significant Aboriginal sites and places and an access management plan put in place.
So the process is slow and at this stage it is unclear actually how much land will be available to be released, keeping in mind that the National Parks & Wildlife Service purchased the property 'East Mullane' last year and negotiations are still progressing on what areas may be available for opal prospecting and mining.
LIGHTNING RIDGE MINING BOARD
The first Lightning Ridge Mining Board meeting of the year will be held on Thursday 17 February 2005. Items on the agenda include looking at reserves from mining, camps on claims, an update on OPA 4 and an update on legislative amendments and regulations.
The Western Lands Advisory Board will also be visiting Lightning Ridge opal fields on 17 February and the LRMA and GGSMA will be involved in showing them the opal mining industry. This Board is an advisory board to the Minister constituted under the Western Lands Act and provides advice on matters in the western division.
Lightning Ridge Miners' Association Ltd
PO Box 177
Lightning Ridge NSW 2834
Ph: (02) 6829 0427; Fax: (02) 6829 0830
Mob: 0427 920 474
26 March 2006 04:08pm