Gold prospecting lease for novice fossickers pegged by Yalgoo Shire in bid to attract tourist bonanza – ABC News

A Western Australian outback shire is hoping to attract tourists chasing a gold find by pegging land near the town where visitors can search for the precious metal.

Shire of Yalgoo chief executive Silvio Brenzi said the council hoped to create a new tourist gold rush, more than a century after significant gold discoveries put the town on the map and mines on its outskirts.

Mr Brenzi said a lot of tourists came with metal detectors, but they had to be careful not to trespass on other people’s leases.

There was also a risk of inexperienced prospectors getting lost.

“To make that easier for the novice perhaps the shire thought it would be worthwhile to have our own lease so we can actually show people where to go,” Mr Brenzi said.

“They can be confident they are not on someone else’s lease — which can cause trouble.”

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Pilbara Gold Rush: How an accidental prospector started a gold rush(Michelle Stanley)

The shire applied for three prospecting licences in May and the application is pending.

Mr Brenzi said the plan was for tourists to pay about $10 for a map which gives them directions to the area, about 10 kilometres south of Yalgoo.

He said the small town, about 540 kilometres north-east of Perth, was “semi-remote”.

Lucky find for first-timer

Shire works foreman and keen prospector Ray Pratt said small gold nuggets have already been discovered in the area by a beginner using a metal detector for the first time.

Works foreman and keen prospector Ray Pratt says the licence will bring people to the area.(ABC Midwest Wheatbelt: Cecile O’Connor)

“We had one lady come in and she had never prospected before,” he said.

“She booked in for four days with her husband.

“So they went from four days they were going to be here to four weeks.”

Mr Pratt predicted the move would encourage more people to the town.

“It will get people in to the area,” he said.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) executive director of resource tenure Rick Rogerson said prospecting licences were a type of mining tenement.

He said the there was also a procedure to go through under the Native Title Act before the application could be granted.

The Shire of Yalgoo has applied for a prospecting licence for visitors hoping for a gold discovery.(ABC Midwest Wheatbelt: Cecile O’Connor)

Holders of prospecting licences must comply with a number of rules including paying annual rent, reporting on the work done on the licence, and reporting the discovery of “all minerals of economic interest” to the appropriate State Government minister.

No ground disturbing equipment can be used unless the licence holder has lodged a program of work that has been approved by the Minister or a prescribed official.

All holes, pits and trenches are to be made safe by the licensee, and steps should be taken to prevent damaging trees or other property.