Date 17/12/21

QOMA and YOMSCI delegates meet with Department regarding Moratorium on MC's

Quilpie Mining Districts Queensland Small Mining Council (QSMC) delegates met with department staff at a Teams (on line) meeting on Monday the 13th of December 2021 regarding the Moratorium on the prohibition of granting new mining claims which came into effect on the 25th of November 2021

The Department was represented by Ben Johns, Luke Croton, Marcus Rees and Kahil Lloyd, and mining associations by QOMA delegates Rob White (President) Kev Phillips (Secretary) and YOMSCI President , Ben Stoverink.

The Industry representatives expressed their dismay in the way that the Moratorium was applied by the Department and further expressed that the Synergies- Small Scale mining “Cost benefit Analysis Report” (SSM-CBA), which the moratorium was based and enacted, was fatally flawed.

The Department’s own Director General (DG), Mike Kaiser, had also expressed his own misgivings about this Synergies SSM- CBA, which were noted at a meeting between the Regional Councils and the DG, with Mr. Kaiser, expressing a lack of confidence in the report, stating the reports should not have been published.

Further discussion took place between the QSMC delegates and the department regarding the Mining Claim Moratorium and the current Queensland Tenure system. the state played their cards pretty close to their chest however QOMA delegates believe that the Queensland Tenure system is not flawed however could respectfully address the departments concerns, but these concerns to-date are not yet specified!

The QOMA executive believe that both Mining Claims and Prescribed Mining Claims are indispensable tenures for the Small Scale Mining Sector in the State and should remain accessible, affordable for our relevant industries & if applicants are able to abide by the Small Miners Code they should not have to apply for an Environmental Authority and subsequent annual payments.

The QOMA also expressed that Small Scale Mining legislation must stay within the Mineral Resources Act , which affords due process including the Land and Resources Tribunal.

A follow up meeting is proposed by the department in late January 2022, to further consult the Small Scale Mining Representative groups which will afford time for the QOMA and YOMSCI to have consulted their membership.

The QOMA are finalising a Draft consultation paper and Members should contact the QOMA delegates to voice your concern & have your say and even lodge your own submission to the QRIDP at

The link above is better as the  "Have your say" link on the QRDIP link is fraught with passwords & signup and conditions 

New Small Mining Claims applications suspended by Minister for Mines

Date 24/11/2021

The Small Scale Mining Registrar Ben Johns, advised the QOMA Secretary Kev Phillips that all applications for "New" Prescribed Mining Claims would no longer be accepted, as of today. 

This is a major blow to the States Small Scale Mining Sector who utilise this form of tenure to remain viable, which is imperative since the financial strain caused by the COVID 19 crisis.

This “Extraordinary order” was authorised by the new Minister for Resources, The Hon. Mr. Scott Stewart and published in the Queensland Government Gazette.

This act would indeed seem “extraordinary” given the Small Scale Mining Groups were not forewarned nor consulted about this shock move by the State, and could not be implemented at a worse time given border lockdowns and  local & international gem buyers and tourists being unable to travel to Queensland.

The only option now available for miners to progress a tenure application will be to apply for mining leases, which attract a significantly higher annual rental fee to Mines Department, and also forces small scale miner’s to apply for Environmental Authority's with the EPA, which will also attract  annual Environmental Fees of around $800.00 per annum & annual reporting requirements and associated costs.

The Mines Department has initiated this action under the Queensland Resource Industry Development Plan (QRDIP) which has not only dismissed Small Scale Miners Representative Groups submissions to the QRDIP, and who have also neglected to advise the Small Scale Mining Representative Groups about the implementation of the Gazette notice which now removes Mining Claims as a legitimate form of tenure.

To support this disingenuous ploy, the Department of Mines, authorised a “Cost Benefit Analysis” of the Queensland Gem mining sector, which limited scope ensured an orchestrated result which support the established Departments motive… repress small scale mining in the State.

The SSM - Cost Benefit Analysis which was undertaken by Synergies Economic Consulting (SEC), is, at the very best, inconclusive, as SEC possessed a piecemeal knowledge of these industries & hence limited their investigative scope of the economic benefits derived from small scale mining to contentious “mine face” production and tourism benefit figures, both of which only procure a fraction of the value of gem production to the State and Australia!

There has been no encouragement or consideration by Synergies to look farther then where they were pointed to by the Department, and therefore Synergies have failed to even recognise let alone consider the value adding of gemstones by local gem cutters, merchants and Jewellers, all which exponentially increases the values of these uniquely Queensland mined goods.

The processing and value adding of these “high demand”, Queensland Gemstones employs and support the many hundreds of local retailers and e-shops that export these stones daily all over the world.

This arbitrary SSM Cost Benefit Analysis Report has, at least for the moment, provided the outcome which supported the Department of Mines agenda!

To enquire further or express your thanks to the Governments for their Industry support please feel free to call the Ministers office on 07 3008 3500 or his electorate office 07 4766 4100

Disclaimer :- Despite Synergies claims of consultation with Stakeholders in the Cost Benefit Analysis document,…the Qld. Small Mining Council and the majority of Small Scale Mining Representative groups did not participate in this Cost Benefit Analysis because of  impositions caused by the COVID lockdowns.

Date :-  20/09/2020

QSMC launches TV campaign

The Queensland Small Miners Council (QSMC)  has launched the "Television Campaign" to promote the Cost Benefit of the Gold and Gem producers and highlight the "over regulation and red-tape" which is causing decline of small scale mining in the State of Queensland.

The QSMC is a committee of the States Small Scale mining representative bodies which includes the Queensland Opal Miners Assoc.(QOMA), Qld. Boulder Opal Association(QBOA) Yowah Opal Miners Community Services Inc (YOMCSI) The Queensland Sapphire Miners Association(QSMA) and last but not least North Queensland Miners Association (NQMA).

The two adverts, "People like us" and "Eureka" will be aired on Foxtel "on demand services." linked to Discovery and National geographic and can be seen live to 560,000 subscribers of Foxtel's "Kayo sports channel"

Also the adverts will hit the eastern sea board of the State from the Cape to the Gold Coast and Toowoomba  ...on Seven Go ! 

If you're outside these areas the adverts can also be seen on the QSMC website at:

Whilst the adverts are "apolitical" it does spell out clearly that over regulation and red tape needs to be addressed by the Government, as our Industries will further decline without streamlined processes and support from Governments, to ensure the survival of the small scale miners! 

The QOMA would encourage our members to visit this site and provide the Premier of Queensland,  the prepared submission on the Act Now app on the QSMC website!

The QOMA thanks all the QSMC member organizations and our industry members that have donated their money and time to ensure that this advertisement was realized. 

Well done & thank you sincerely for your generous support!

Winton Opal Festival -Saturday the 26th of September 2020

The recently cancelled QBOA Opal Festival will now be held on Saturday 26th September 2020.

The event had been cancelled in July 2020 due to Covid 19 travel restrictions, however will now process in conjunction with the Winton - Vision Splendid Film Festival.

This important Industry event will give opal miners an opportunity to catch up and afford trading of Queensland Boulder Opal.

For more information go to

Minister of Mines Hon. Anthony Lynham to Quit 

The Minister for Mines The Hon. Anthony Lynham is to quit his position at the next election and will not stand for his seat of Stafford.

Who the bloody hell is Anthony Lynham, I hear you ask!

Well....blowed if I know.... he was our Minister for Mines....apparently.! 

He was the only Minister for Mines that had never afforded opportunity to meet with the Queensland Small Miners Council (QSMC)  in the 20 odd year history of this small scale mining industry organization.

The Minister who told his executive directors to state at the recent teleconference between DNR&M ( The lands department) & delegates of the Queensland Scale Mining Council, that .......

........" The Minister had designated a low priority to Small Scale Mining!" 

This was just days after The Hon. Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, had announced she will look after all Queenslander's when announcing her governments initial Covid 19 Response Plan !

Obviously, The Minister's mind had been pre-occupied with his transition from public life and he'd had been to busy sharpening his scalpel, as he is returning to his real job as a Maxillofacial surgeon.

What's one of them, I hear you ask.......well basically its a surgeon who fixes faces, basically broken jaws, teeth and eyes sockets, and Dr. Lynham is probably anticipating a roaring trade after the State election.

We wish the Minister well, his obvious dedication to our Small Scale Mining Industry and his attention to detail, will be sorely missed!

Native Title 

Budjiti Peoples

The QOMA has success with finalising 14 Right to Negotiate agreements for QOMA Opal Mining Members from the Koroit Opal field with the Budjiti Peoples, who are the Traditional Owners of these lands.

The Budjiti peoples were to consider these “In-Principle” agreements on the 13th of September 2020 but it now has to be rescheduled due to the States (Qld) Covid travel restrictions.

These mining tenures are for both renewal/s and new applications for mining and two new Exploration Permits. 

The QOMA thank our members for their patience and the Budjiti peoples for their considerations and participation in the Right to Negotiate process.

Boonthamurra Peoples

The QOMA are pleased to announce that the Right to Negotiate (RTN) process for the negotiated Boonthamurra miners which were signed late in 2019 are operational.

Miners on Boonthamurra Country on the Eromanga and Quilpie Fields have been, or are, in the process of engaging the Boonthamurra Peoples pursuant to their agreements, to facilitate the Cultural Heritage Surveys of their mining or exploration tenures.

Whilst Covid 19 has caused delays in the ability of the Boonthamurra and other Native Title Parties in facilitating these Cultural Heritage Surveys, it is anticipated that most Cultural Heritage Surveys will be undertaken this year.

This will provide these miners with areas to explore or mine by late this year and at the very least for early 2021.

These negotiated agreements for QOMA members with the Budjiti and Boonthamurra Peoples were facilitated by the QOMA at no charge. 

These agreements will serve to protect the Cultural Heritage of the Traditional Land Owners and also provide the opal miners with areas to operate within for the near future.

The State played no role in the negotiation’s and can take no merit in the achievement, however, perhaps they can consider helping funding a long term Indigenous Land Use Agreement that would provide certainty and continuity for the Opal mining Industry operating within the Boonthamura and the Budjiti peoples lands.

The QOMA and its members sincerely thank the Boonthamurra and Budjiti Peoples for their considerations and in assisting achieve these RTN agreements.

The QOMA remind our members of the commitments they have made in the signing of these agreements and that they familiarise themselves with the commitments they have made, as any breach would jeopardise not only their own agreements, but the ongoing goodwill between The Opal Mining sector and the Native Title Parties.

If opal miners who are members need assistance with preparing Native Title documents or negotiating Native Title or Cultural Heritage documents please feel free to seek help from the QOMA Native Title Committee.

If you have any opal industry news 
please contact the Secretary QOMA