What is tenement management? Everything you need to know about Mining Tenements

Have you been exploring the internet for details on tenements? Or do you often find yourself mining for information on tenement management? At PX4, we’ve got you covered. 

With over 30 years of experience in the mining and exploration industry, our team is a walking, talking wiki of everything you need to know about tenement management. We have answers to all your questions. So let’s get started by finding out what tenements are and why they are such an important part of mining. 

What is a mining tenement? 

Tenements are a technical and intricate aspect of mining, governed by Acts and Legislation that differ from state to state, and can often be perplexing for those dealing with them. That being said, they are also an essential element of project success. A mining tenement can simply be defined as ‘A license, permit or lease providing rights to explore for and/or extract minerals under the surface of an area of land.’

If you are an independent company looking to execute any form of mining exploration you will be required to work within the legislative guidelines of your state. Fundamentally, you will need to file for an exploration license, also known as a tenement, which grants you permission to perform certain activities on the land in which you are interested.

Besides being imperative to the initial approval of any project, tenements constitute the groundwork on which all operations are planned and executed. In order to maintain your tenure securely, it is critical that you conform to impeccable, error-free management of your tenements and consistantly meet all the compliance requirements associated with the conditions of the title. 

Why do you need a mining tenement?

Mining tenements are granted so that state governments can maintain high standards of mining and exploration when it comes to critical conditions (such as Native Title protections, environmental and waste / rehabilitation requirements etc.). This ensures that exploration activities are conducted in compliance with environmental requirements, that they are ecologically sound and do not negatively impact the environment, and that conflicts or disagreements with traditional owners of the land are minimised and well managed.

What are the different types of mining tenements?

Numerous mining tenements can be applied based on the level or depth of exploration that you are looking to carry out. Some of the most common mining tenements include:

Prospecting Permit: A permit that admits the hand mining of certain minerals, excluding coal. This includes a parcel prospecting permit with validity for three months or a district prospective permit which varies in duration from 1-12 months, conditional on agreement and permission of the landowner.

Exploration Permit: A permit for a duration of up to five years for the intention of exploring a specific area of land. It is aimed at assisting the explorer in evaluating the existence, quality, and quantity of minerals on the land. An exploration permit allows the commencement of methods like sampling, testing, drilling, conducting surveys, and prospecting. This kind of tenement is sometimes planned to lead to a mineral development license.

Mineral Development License: A license that allows for more extensive activities such as drilling and seismic surveys, and design and feasibility studies. A mineral development license is obtained for up to five years and can be further renewed if certain conditions are met.

Mining Lease: A lease that is generally granted following other exploration-related tenements. The duration of a mining lease is relevant to the project life of the mine and entitles the holder to mine for pre-specified minerals.

How do you apply for a mining tenement?

Now that we’ve introduced you to tenements and what they entail, it might be a good time to work out how to apply for a mining tenement. 

Ahead of lodging your application, you should be familiar with certain factors such as objections by the public, environmental conflicts, and land constraints. The next step is to compile a report on the land on which you intend to explore before completing your application. You will need to accurately disclose the entirety of activities you wish to undertake.  

Lodging an application can be done at several government offices for an application fee (that varies from state to state). 

What is tenement management and what does it involve? 

Tenement management is the essential task of managing critical land assets and ensuring all the tenements under your control remain compliant as per state government legislation. This includes management of all statutory, regulatory, and commercial obligations, and ensuring that these obligations are met in compliance with strict timing requirements, and that any threats to tenure are dealt with appropriately.

Tenement management involves (but is not limited to) the following tasks:

  • Native Title negotiations for the granting of mining leases and infrastructure licenses
  • Managing mining act compliance and statutory tenement reporting
  • Risk management
  • Negotiating Aboriginal Heritage agreements
  • Land acquisition and strategic management
  • Compilation of tenement applications
  • Strategic landholding to maintain tenure

How does it differ across jurisdictions? 

Each State and Territory across Australia has its own classification, terminology, and documentation that is required to support mining and development approval. As such, a deep, jurisdiction-specific understanding of the principles of completing successful documentation (including stakeholder communication, issues management, scope appropriate investigations, and high-quality reporting) is required to be able to successfully manage the range of mining tenements. 

The roles of an in-house tenement manager 

The primary purpose of this role is to maintain the company’s portfolio of tenements, which constitute the most fundamental and valuable resource that the company holds. 

The role of a tenement manager requires effective and professional interaction with multiple stakeholders, including Government authorities, overlapping tenure holders, joint venture parties, landowners, legal personnel and industry representative bodies.

Essentially, a tenement manager is expected to manage and execute the following tasks:

  • Compiling and maintaining systems and databases to manage statutory commitments and obligations arising from legislation or any other form of guidance, or direction issued by Government entities;
  • Maintaining knowledge of amendments to legislation that affect tenement application, management and retention;
  • Managing, directing, or assisting on administrative matters;
  • Maintaining a register of communication with government bodies;
  • Tenement acquisition;
  • Monitoring prospective ground and applying for tenure throughout Australia and overseas;
  • Preparation and lodgement of applications for grant and renewal, as well as other prescribed dealings;
  • Preparation of exploration programs;
  • Preparation, advice, and coordination of joint venture agreements;
  • Strategic advice concerning tenement acquisitions;
  • Expert strategic advice on key approvals and considerations relating to the security of tenure according to mining, environmental, and land-use laws;
  • Preparation of submissions to Government departments regarding conditions of title including expenditure exemptions or suspension of conditions;
  • Cancellation of titles, and associated submissions to the Government;
  • Transfer of titles, registration of agreements, and encumbrances;
  • Assistance with preparation and lodgement of statutory reports;
  • Negotiation of access and compensation with private, Government, and Indigenous landowners;
  • Tenement auditing and due diligence to advise commercial transactions including joint ventures, farm-in agreements, and acquisitions;
  • Providing advice for advanced exploration projects up to and beyond mining; and
  • Compilation and drafting of Access agreements to protect interests.

PX4 – A tenement manager’s saviour!

Considering the intricacies of a tenement manager’s role, and the necessity of getting every task right, we saw a need for a tool that could aid in supporting the daily activities of tenement management – for both in-house tenement managers, and tenement managers acting as consultants. 

PX4 is tenement management software designed to help tenement managers to keep track of the tenements and titles under their care. Our solution will help with every aspect of operations with unique features like authority lifecycle management, exploration project status tracking, action management, Native Title management, stakeholder & contact management, work program & expenditure tracking, land access management, relinquishment management, and workload forecasting along with land access and environmental commitments as well. 

But the product is in no way limited to these applications. With regular software updates, multi-jurisdiction adaptations, and email notifications, PX4 can be used to run a tenement securely and efficiently, which in turn can help you decide the future course of your operations well in advance.

Our solution can be used by independent tenement managers, exploration and mining companies, and tenement management consultancies alike. If you’d like to know more about PX4, our expert team will be glad to take you through a demonstration of some of the key benefits and how they relate to you and your organisation. 

We sure hope we’ve been able to give you an insight into the wonderful world of tenement management and that this sparks your interest to learn more about how important tenements are to the mining industry. 

Keep exploring! 

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