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Opal miners still unhappy with invalid claims

Kavitha Barron at work at the Lightning Ridge Miners Association. Photo Twh

The NSW government passed an opal mining bill in October, but miners say it doesn’t restore the valid claims of opal miners?

The Mining Amendment (Mineral Claims—Opal) Bill 2023 is now law but many miners in Lightning Ridge, Grawin, Glengarry, and White Cliffs are concerned about the future.

Opal miners had their livelihoods threatened in May this year when it was discovered that over three thousand mineral claims were invalidly issued.

The issue arose due to errors in administrative processes put in place by the Department of Regional NSW between January 1, 2015, and February 13, 2023. Some miners were required to cease all mining activities until their claims were validated.

“About 1000 leases had to cease mining and in all 3300 had to be revalidated,” Lightning Ridge Miners’ Association Secretary-Manager, Kavitha Barron said. “Approximately 800 have been validated with a further 100 awaiting payment to proceed.”

But Ms Barron said this is a moot point with all leases now retrospectively validated with the new bill passed under the guidance of NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Courtney Houssos. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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