All mineral resources belong to the people of Victoria and are therefore owned by the Crown. When minerals are mined, under the proper authority, they become the property of the person extracting them. Before any activity can commence, the licensee is required to contact the affected landholders to discuss the implications of their proposed activities. As well, the licensee is required to have obtained consent of the landholder or reached a compensation agreement with the landholder.
Exploration does not always lead to mining. Due to the difficulty of identifying commercial ore bodies, only about one in 1,000 exploration projects progress to the mining stage. A mineral deposit must first be determined as economically viable before any further activity can proceed. This will depend on a variety of factors including the size and grade of the resource, the predicted price of the mineral, accessibility, transportability and expected efficiency of production.
An exploration licence grants exclusive rights, subject to conditions, to explore for minerals in graticular sections comprising an area of up to 500 square kilometres (or larger with ministerial approval). Mining is not permitted on an exploration licence. In general, an exploration licence is valid for five years, with the option to apply for renewal of up to 5 years, and provides the right to apply for a mining licence. During the term of an exploration licence, licensees are required to relinquish ground.
Fosterville Gold Mine will not undertake exploration on private property without landholder consent. A compensation agreement will be established with the landholder prior to any exploration activities commencing.