Prospecting in Victoria

Miners Right

Before you can prospect in Victoria, you must obtain a “Miners Right”
The Miners Right allows the holder to search for, and take possession of, any mineral located on many areas of public land, or, on private land with the landholder’s prior consent.

This is available through the Victorian Earth Resources site HERE or selected tourist information centres and prospecting equipment supply shops in Victoria.
Children under 18 years old do not need a Miner’s Right while prospecting if they are accompanied by an adult who holds a current Miner’s Right.
Links are below of several who support the PMAV and we ask you support them!
The cost is $25.20 for a 10 year licence.

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Tourist Fossicking Authority

Tourism operators can purchase a Tourist Fossicking Authority (TFA) which allows their customers to search for minerals, without having to have an individual Miners Right .
The fossicking authority only applies to the land that you identify in your application. If you are applying for a TFA on private land, you need landholder consent.

A Tourist Fossicking Authority costs $92.50 and is valid for up to 10 years.

Make sure you are familiar with the land access rules and your legal obligations before you apply.


Gold prospecting equipment

There are many tools that can be used for gold prospecting, including metal detectors, gold pans, gold sluices and gold trommels.
  • Metal detector: A handheld electronic device which detects the presence of metal nearby, used by sweeping it over the ground or other objects.
    Very Low Frequency Type (VLF) is the simplest type but restricted in its use and ability to ‘punch’ deep.
    Pulse Induction type (PI) – Most versatile, designed for Australian conditions and powerful..BUT expensive
  • Gold panning: A simple method of separating heavier gold from lighter soil or gravel by washing it in a pan with water.
  • Gold sluice: A channel with riffles along the bottom, designed to trap gold from soil or gravel as it is washed through the channel with water. Gold sluice boxes can be operated using running creek/river water, or can have water supplied with a pump.
  • Gold trommel: A mechanical tool used to separate large rocks from finer gravel or soil. Gold bearing material is added to a hopper. It is washed with water into a rotating drum, where the water and rotation breaks up any lumps. The rotating drum is constructed of a screen material – large rocks are discarded while the finer material is directed into a sluice box.


While gold prospecting you must not:

  • Use any equipment other than hand tools for ground excavation (Only shovels, picks, crowbars etc).
    HOWEVER – Haulage and processing of the prospect material (ore/wash) can however generally be carried out with the aid of motorised equipment such as sluices, water pumps, trommels etc. This is subject to local restrictions.
  • Use explosives for any form of work.
  • Damage any trees, shrubs or flowers.
  • Cause any damage to any archaeological sites or Aboriginal places/objects. We ask you to report any of these to your PMAV branch.
  • Enter private property without permission.
  • Remove, disturb or damage any heritage features or objects

You must always:

  • Fill any holes you dig while prospecting
  • Clean up after yourself. Don’t litter.
  • Remember that any treasures and valuables discovered while prospecting belong to the Crown and need to be reported to the police.
Please ensure that you familiarize yourself with the current legislation regarding gold prospecting.

If you are unsure about where you can detect, check with the local office of the Department of Primary industries, Sustainability and Environment, or visit the Energy & Earth Resources in Victoria website.

Where are you allowed to go gold prospecting in Victoria?

Prospecting is allowed in most State Forests, many Reserves and private property with the land owner’s permission. Prospecting is also permitted on Crown Land (except for Prohibited Crown Land), and permitted areas in certain parks under the National Parks Act.
Please see the following resources for more information regarding land access rules for gold prospectors:

Dangers of mine shafts out in the bush

Open mine shafts are a fairly common sight throughout the bush of the Victorian Goldfields.
Some are partially covered over and seem like a shallow depression, but have false bottoms and deep.
Never enter mine shafts without the proper equipment and experience.
If you would like to explore mine shafts, please contact The Victorian Historical Mine Shaft Chasers Inc  for more information.

Equipment suppliers who can assist you:

Gold Ballarat E E Day & Sons
Website HERE
822 Howitt St, Ballarat  3350
03 5339 2211

Miners Den
Website HERE
109 Watson Street, White Hills, Bendigo VIC 3551
03 5448 4140

Lucky Strike Prospecting
Website HERE
120 Bellarine Hwy, Newcomb VIC 3219
03 5221 5400

CoilTek Gold Centre
Website HERE
6 Drive In Ct Maryborough, VIC 3465
+61 3 5460 4700

Miners Den Melbourne
Website HERE
03 9873 1244
Shop 2/517 Whitehorse Road, Mitcham VIC 3132