Holders of coal exploration titles are required under the Mining Act 1992, to lodge reports on current exploration activities and expenditure, and the proposed exploration program, including expenditure for the following reporting period.
As of 15 November 2010, all coal exploration and mining reports and data must be submitted in digital form, as set out in Exploration reporting: a guide for reporting on exploration and prospecting in NSW [4.5 MB PDF].
Upon expiration or termination of an exploration licence, the title holder is also required to lodge a comprehensive report containing full particulars of all exploration activities, including expenditure, carried out by the licence holder during the currency of the licence. The report should also include results of such exploration activities and conclusions reached regarding the potential of the coal resource in the licence area.
In addition, an assessment of the adequacy of exploration programs is undertaken prior to the grant of a mining lease. The Division of Resources and Energy must be satisfied that the amount of exploration is sufficient to prepare a conceptual mine plan. This ensures that the Division can support a development proposal that maximises the resource recovery of the area.
Compulsory online reporting
EROL is an online report preparation and lodgement facility for title holders, operators or agents. Users need to register for an account online at the EROL login page.
Data files attached to a report are reviewed for compliance to data templates as the first step to accepting the report. This quality assurance process ensures the data can be electronically uploaded into the drilling database.
Forms and guides for coal exploration titleholders
Reports and data supplied to the Department under coal exploration, assessment and mining titles are considered confidential for the life of the title. This includes any renewals and transfers of the title. Coal exploration data generally does not become available until after titles have been relinquished.
However, for a variety of reasons small amounts of company exploration data may occasionally become available. All exploration carried out by the Department's Minerals Division, including joint venture exploration with companies, is made available to the public.
Extensions and exemptions from reporting requirements
The Mining Regulation 2010 allows for authority holders to apply for an extension of the period within which a report must be lodged, or for an exemption from reporting requirements. However, extensions and exemptions are not generally granted except in cases of extreme hardship.
Applications for extensions or exemptions must be lodged 30 days prior to the date the report is due using the ER01 – Extension or exemption from exploration reporting requirement form.
Exemption from reporting requirements does not exempt the authority holder from their obligation to fulfil other conditions of authority, especially the requirements to effectively explore, assess or mine the authority area.
Estimating and reporting Australian black coal resources and reserves
The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) requires that all public reporting of resources and reserves of black coal comply with the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) Code.
The Department requires that all estimates of Inventory Coal, Coal Resources and Coal Reserves for black coal included in reports required under the Mining Act, associated regulations and conditions of title, comply with the JORC Code and the Australian Guidelines for the Estimation and Classification of Coal Resources or its successor document as published from time to time by the Coalfields Geology Council of New South wales and the Queensland Resources Council.