UPDATE - August 2023
On 8 August 2023 the Premier of Western Australia announced that the recently enacted state laws of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act will be repealed, after only being in place for 5 weeks:
RECENT BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
The new ‘Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act’ of Western Australia commenced on 1 July 2023. It will have some impact (i.e. it imposes responsibilities and obligations) on prospecting and mining activities in Western Australia, including upon prospectors/fossickers using metal detectors and hand tools to hunt for gold.
Unfortunately, for many concerned, there has been scare-mongering, disrespect, misinterpretation, ignorance and indifference expressed publicly with respect to the new laws.
Here is a LINK to some official facts sheets and guidelines about these new laws:
Prospecting using a metal detector and hand tools only – is considered to be a "TIER 1 Activity" under the subject legislation. Accordingly, a ‘Due Diligence Assessment’ “MUST be undertaken in accordance with the ACH Management Code”.
The ACH Management Code provides details on how to do a Due Diligence Assessment. Here is a LINK to the ACH Management Code:
A Due Diligence Assessment involves using the ‘Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Inquiry System’ (ACHIS) database to search the area you are interested in - to find out if there is any record of Aboriginal cultural heritage relating to that land area.
The ACHIS Database can be accessed via the link below:
When I recently used the ACHIS database (in late July 2023), unfortunately on several occasions I found that it was rather slow at “Loading” all the data prior to my search to “Zoom to an area” of a “Mining Tenement”.
‘YouTube’ contains some simple and informative videos (see the 2 links below) - presented by experienced & well-respected W.A. prospector Tony Pilkington (of ‘ Goldtalk Leonora ’) with respect to the new ACH laws, including how to undertake a Due Diligence Assessment, and also how to search the ‘Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Inquiry System’ (ACHIS) database:
Tony Pilkington has an absolute wealth of experience & knowledge on gold prospecting & mining in Western Australia (Tony's wife - Lisa - has also prospected in Alaska and New Zealand). Tony also runs prospecting training courses, and he has a gift of explaining such things to others simply, with respect, humour and patience.
Many prospectors & leaseholders are members of the Amalgamated Prospectors & Leaseholders Association of Western Australia. This Association has been around for over a century.
Two of the main reasons why I joined APLA were:
1. Financial APLA Members are covered by a $20 Million Public Liability Insurance automatically when they are lawfully prospecting as an amateur.
2. APLA fights for its members, including ALL Prospectors and ALL Leaseholders rights by representation to government departments and political bodies. APLA also makes detailed submissions/recommendations to government with respect to proposed and current laws.
Other member benefits include free access to the regular online magazine (which often contains very useful articles written by local prospectors), as well as invitations to Association events and training, and regular Branch meetings (including in Kalgoorlie). APLA members are also invited to bush camps and prospecting trips hosted by experienced and professional prospectors.
I met many APLA members (including prospectors each with many decades of local experience) during my several years of full-time gold hunting in W.A. - who were only too happy to provide advice and assistance to me as a new member. That advice & assistance saved me from so much potentially wasted time & money, that far exceeded the cost of my APLA membership. This was a great investment for me indeed.
Currently, annual APLA membership costs are $110 for a Full Member, $150 for a Family, and $110 for a Pensioner Couple.
Five years ago in 2018, APLA made a detailed (15 pages) submission to the W.A. Government with respect to the impact of the then-current 'Aboriginal Heritage Act' on prospectors and small-scale mining in Western Australia:
APLA members can also seek quality advice & assistance from the very experienced & knowledgeable officials/Executive Members of APLA (who are often out gold prospecting too ! )
I highly recommend being a member of APLA if you are considering prospecting in Western Australia.