A fossicker panning for gold in Sofala, New South Wales.

If you're keen to try your luck at unearthing gems, minerals or fossils, join a fossicking club in your area.

The Gem & Lapidary Council NSW has a list of clubs in NSW, many of which organise fossicking adventures.

NSW Guide to Fossicking

The NSW Resources Regulator has released a revised guide to fossicking in NSW, which serves to provide clarity about relevant legislation, with a focus on the restrictions relating to permissible fossicking equipment.

A copy of the guide, and fossicking equipment infographic, is available from the NSW Resources Regulator website.

Landholder indemnity

Fossicking is a lawful activity under section 12 the Mining Act 1992 (the Act). The Act states the following under section 383C General immunity of landholders:

(1) The landholder of land within which any person (other than the landholder) is authorised to  exercise any power or right:
(a) by or under this Act, or
(b) by any authority, mineral claim, opal prospecting licence or permit under this Act,
is not subject to any action, liability, claim or demand arising as a consequence of that person's acts or omissions in the exercise, or; purported exercise, of any such power or right.
(2) In this section, landholder includes a secondary landholder.

Tips for fossicking

Awareness of personal safety is recommended while fossicking. Wear sunscreen, a large brimmed hat and closed-in shoes. Always let someone know of your plans and take plenty of water.

Fossickers also need to obtain a special purpose permit from the Forestry Corporation to fossick in state forests.

For further information
Geological Survey of NSW
Phone:
02 4063 6500
geoscience.info@geoscience.nsw.gov.au
Postal:
Geological Survey of NSW, Planning and Environment, PO Box 344 Hunter Regional Mail Centre NSW 2310
Office:
516 High Street Maitland NSW 2320 Map