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Exploration Licence Partial Surrender (WA)


Section 65 Mining Act 1978

Exploration Licences are subject to partial surrender pursuant to s65 of the Mining Act:

  • an E applied for before 10 February 2006 is required to be reduced in its 3rd and 4th year by 50% in both years;
  • an E applied for after 10 February 2006 and contains more than 10 blocks is to be reduced by 40% at the end of its 6th year of its term.
  • An E applied for after 10 February 2006 and contains less than or equal to 10 blocks does not have to be reduced.

Under s65(3) an exploration licence granted (this word is important in the interpretation) of more than 10 blocks must lodge a surrender for registration in respect of —

(a) 40% of the number of the blocks that are subject to the licence; or

(b) if 40% of that number is not a whole number, the nearest whole number of the blocks. (note: It is mathematical impossible to have '.5' of block)

The remaining area of the licence must not be more than 6 discrete areas.

Any part of the licence area that is surrendered before the surrender day of the licence, counts towards the calculation of the area that is required to be surrendered. The area can be where a mining lease or general purpose lease is granted or a part of the licence area.

The licence may consist of blocks that wholly cover surrounding tenements so be careful when calculating number of blocks to be surrendered that those blocks are included.

The partial surrender (Form 14 Partial Surrender (PDF)) can be completed online though the Form 14 Partial Surrender Document must be complete and executed.


The guidelines for applying for exemption form partial surrender are contained in this link. Policy Guidelines for Partial Surrender (PDF)

An exemption from partial surrender may be applied for the pre 10/02/2006 Exploration Licences. There is no exemption for an Exploration Licence applied for after 10/02/2006.

Reasons for an exemption from partial surrender are stipulated in Transitional Provisions of the Mining Act 1978 as amended by the Mining Amendment Act 2012 (PDF); they are (refer to the guidelines for greater detail):

(a) by reason of difficulties or delays-

       (i) occasioned by law; or

       (ii) arising from administrative, political, environmental or other requirements of governmental or other authorities, in the State or elsewhere; or

       (iii) arising from a requirement to conduct an Aboriginal heritage survey on the land to which the application for exemption relates (the relevant land); or

       (iv) in obtaining requisite consents or approvals for exploration or for the marking out of a mining lease or general purpose lease in relation to any part of the relevant land; or

       (v) in gaining access to the relevant land because of unfavourable climatic conditions,

the exploration programme, or the marking out and application appropriate to a mining lease or general purpose lease in relation to the relevant land, could not be undertaken or completed or is restricted in a manner that is, or subject to conditions that are, for the time being impracticable;

       (b)       work already carried out under the licence justifies further exploration.''''


The surrender area of an exploration licence surrendered under s65 is placed in moratorium and released by DMIRS for application after a couple of weeks (the period is indeterminate). This may be avoided by naming the form a "voluntary partial surrender" then the area is released without a moratorium period.

Another tip: if an exploration licence is applied for with 40% excessive land, the excessive land can be surrendered after the exploration licence is granted and then exploration licence may remain the same size for its term without a reduction, though the expenditure increases with the term of the licence.