Opal miners demand answers – Jeweller Magazine: Jewellery News and Trends

Opal miners demand answers - Jeweller Magazine: Jewellery News and Trends - Artificial Jewellery

The Australian opal mining community is demanding answers after a government error left hundreds of people without valid mineral licences.

The wait for an explanation continues for more than 800 miners in the New South Wales town of Lightning Ridge, renowned worldwide for the opal it produces.

Last week, Natural Resources Minister Courtney confirmed that a review found significant administrative errors caused by reforms made in 2015 to the 1992 Mining Act. More than 3,300 mineral licences were deemed invalid as a result.

Lightning Ridge Miners’ Association president Sebastian Deisenberger told ABC News that bureaucracy and government fees had continually climbed over the past three decades.

“The good thing here at Lightning Ridge was that the battler, the poorer people, had a really good chance,” Deisenberger said.

“In the past, you didn’t need much money to start. They changed all that. Every year’s getting harder and harder, and this is just the peak of it.”

The error renders all small-scale licences granted between January 2015 and February 2023 void.

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