News

Fossickers receive tick of approval

By Country News

Fossickers across north-east Victoria are trying their luck at hitting gold.

Earth Resources Regulation inspectors conducted spot checks over Melbourne Cup weekend and found all participants were in possession of a valid miner's right.

Earth Resources Regulation’s executive director Anthony Hurst said he was pleased with the spot checks.

“It’s great to see fossickers are aware of the rules and their responsibilities when they’re out looking for gold in some of Victoria's beautiful regions,” Mr Hurst said.

The checks were performed in state and national parks near Beechworth, including areas around Reedy Creek, McFeeters Road and Woolshed Falls.

Fossicking involves searching for gems and minerals by using metal detectors, picks, shovels, sieves and pans.

In national parks, state parks and waterways, fossicking is permitted with possession of a miner's right.

Fossickers are expected to backfill any holes they create, keep their vehicles on tracks and take their rubbish home, to maintain a low impact to the environment.

Penalties for not adhering to the conditions of a miner's right can result in fines of up to $16 000 and mining without a licence may lead to a fine of up to $32 000.

“Our inspectors frequently conduct spot checks around the state to ensure fossicking is being conducted properly, safely and without harm to the community or environment,” Mr Hurst said.

Victoria’s mining regulator issued official warnings to two men who were illegally fossicking for gold in the Ovens River at Bright in August.

Discoveries have been made this year, including a $35 000 gold nugget north of Bendigo, as well as one worth $150 000 near Dunolly.

The cost of a miner's right is $25.50 and is valid for 10 years.

For more information about miner's rights, where fossicking can take place and the responsibilities of fossickers, visit: earthresources.vic.gov.au