Gold diggers gain cred
Monday, 5th June, 2017
By Kara de Groot
Fossickers and prospectors are welcome at Tibooburra, now formal rules and guidelines have been set out.
Following a meeting of the Tibooburra Common Trust Committee on Wednesday night, official permits are being produced and processes have been formalised.
Secretary of the Common Trust Committee, John Aimsworth, said the meeting had a good attendance from locals, the crown lands department and visiting prospectors.
“We had an information presentation from the Crown Lands department on what the commons is all about, what their requirements are,” Mr Aimsworth said.
“They went through the legal side of what you can and can’t do on the common,” he said.
“It’s not crown land, it’s been allocated to the people that reside in Tibooburra and anyone else requires permission to come on.
“The restrictions include that you can’t go yabbying, you can’t take firewood or firearms onto the common, you can’t trap animals, so it’s a bit like a national park.”
The Tibooburra common covers the town itself, and extends some seven to eight miles in all directions around Tibooburra.
Mr Aimsworth said the prospectors present were surprised at what was involved in operating the common as they hadn’t realised the legalities and what the common trust were obliged to do under the act, but were quite happy with the allowances for fossicking.
Tibooburra allows fossicking for gold only, and a permit is required before fossicking can start.
“The permit gives them approval to go on the common and covers them for insurance, if they go without a permit and injure themselves or damage their car they’re not covered by insurance, and we’ve had experience with that in the past,” Mr Aimsworth said.
“About four or five years ago we had a bloke who injured himself on the rocks and because he was illegally on the land with no permit or authorisation the insurance company wouldn’t cover it,” he said.
“So it’s not just a matter of the legal aspect, it’s the insurance aspect, if they slip or stumble in a hole, get a snake bite or damage their vehicle then it wouldn’t be covered if they haven’t got that permit.”
The town averages about 10 to 15 fossickers each day, with some staying for just a weekend, and others spending a substantial period of time in the area prospecting.
Mr Aimsworth said the committee and the town welcomes fossickers and prospectors to the area, as long as they get that permit.
“We welcome anybody to come up to Tibooburra, if they just want to drive around that’s fine but the national park and the common needs that permission,” he said.
“Just come and see one of the committee members, ask around for Burt, Melissa or John and get that permit, it’s a nominal fee which covers that protective aspect.”
The Department of Crown Lands are investigating mining licenses for activities such as prospecting, but at this stage any gold found can be kept by the prospector and taken home or sold.