Offshore exploration and mining

What is offshore exploration and mining?

The term ‘offshore mining’ relates to the exploration for, and mining of, minerals (other than oil and gas) offshore—that is, beyond the coastal baseline, in the sea and the seabed.

How is the department involved?

The Offshore Minerals Act 1994 (the Act) establishes a regulatory regime for the exploration for, and production of, minerals in Commonwealth waters that is consistent with the principles of the Offshore Constitutional Settlement.

The department, in partnership with the states and the Northern Territory, advises the Joint Authority (the relevant state and Commonwealth Minister) on the award of exploration permits and other titles under the Act. It also works with the states and Northern Territory to regulate industry activities.

Following discovery of a mineral resource, the successful explorer has the right to construct infrastructure to extract the resource, subject to development approvals to ensure safety and environmental protection.

Related documents

More information



For information about making an application under the Act, please refer to the Offshore Minerals—Guideline for Applicants (see Related documents).​

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