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The Stronger Partners Stronger Futures Discussion Papers summarised the priority issues that participants have raised throughout consultation in support of improving the operation of Part 9B of the Mining Act 1971 and sought comment on suggested options for reform.

Submissions were invited from over 300 individuals and organisations working in the exploration and mining industry, native title groups and their representatives, government and representative peak bodies.

SPSF Discussion papers summary of submissionsBoth written and verbal submissions were received with representation from the exploration and mining sector, the native title sector and individual organisations, peak bodies and legal advisors.

Results of the consultation on the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures discussion papers are presented in the following report:

The purpose of this report is to:

  • Provide an overview of the key messages from the submission process
  • Clarify which issues can be addressed directly by the Department for Energy and Mining and which issues fall within the jurisdiction of other stakeholders for implementation.
  • Advise on the next steps


The issues that can be addressed directly by each sector are:

  • Government information
  • Communication
  • Cultural awareness and cultural competency

For example, Government could provide more information and guidelines, industry could initiate earlier face to face meetings with native title groups prior to accessing country and native title groups could provide more information on how they would like to be engaged.

These issues are explored in:

The issues raised that could be actioned by one sector but require consultation and agreement to proceed, include:

  • Low impact exploration
  • The expedited procedure

For example, policy changes would be a matter for Government but there would need to be extensive consultation with all parties.

These issues are explored in:

For some of the issues raised there are vastly different points of view and there is no easy solution. For issues having legislative, policy, procedural or financial implications we need to work together to co-design solutions that work for all. These issues include:

  • Standard templates for native title mining agreements
  • Indigenous land use agreements
  • Managing survey and clearance information
  • Standards for surveys and clearances
  • Fees and charges

These issues are explored in:

Discussion Paper 1: Reform options to improve the operation of the native title mineral exploration system in South Australia

Discussion Paper 1 sets out options for change to the mineral exploration process in South Australia, in particular the need for improving the Part 9B process to resolve the issues of the timing and nature of early engagement between explorers and native title groups. (DOCX 81.5 KB)(DOCX 81.5 KB)

Discussion paper 1 reform options
Discussion paper 1 reform options - submission template

Discussion Paper 2: Reform options - improve relationship building and cultural awareness in the mineral exploration process

Discussion Paper 2 addresses how organisations communicate with others, the information they communicate about themselves and what information each party is seeking to help improve their understanding about how other parties like to do business.

Discussion paper 2 reform options
Discussion paper 1 reform options - submission template

Discussion Paper 3: Reform options - Aboriginal cultural heritage management and the mineral exploration process

Discussion Paper 3 addresses the current cultural heritage management process for exploration discussing the need for consistency; consistent information, standards and processes in regards to managing survey and clearance information and adopting common standards for heritage surveys and clearances.

Discussion paper 3 reform options
Discussion paper 3 reform options - submission template

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Co-designing the Future Working Paper - Moving Ahead

Working paper_Moving AheadThis Working Paper outlines the issues raised through consultation with explorers, miners and the native title community throughout our Stronger Partners Stronger Futures program and Part 9B forums.

The Co-designing the Future Working Paper - Moving Ahead was designed to support the next stage of discussions about how changes to our native title system for mineral exploration are designed and implemented.

All of the issues that have been discussed are in the Working Paper with actions to focus discussion on resolving the issue and finding solutions that will provide the best possible outcomes for everyone.

To help move things along the Mineral Resources Division will prepare further information on key issues to support and focus discussion as we move along. This information will be posted on the 'Moving Ahead' forthcoming website which is designed for us to work on the issues collaboratively.

Guidelines for explorers on Aboriginal engagement, good faith negotiation and agreement making

Guidelines for explorers on Aboriginal engagement, good faith negotiation and agreement making

Early engagement is an integral part of the risk management strategy for exploration projects. This guideline has been created in response to requests from explorers for basic information on how to commence engagement with native title groups or other traditional owners to facilitate land access for mineral exploration. This information, while targeted at explorers, may also be of use to researchers and other land users seeking to clarify any possible impacts of their project on Aboriginal rights and interests.

The advice in the guideline is general in application and native title groups will, once contacted, provide more specific advice on how they wish to proceed according to their individual preferences.

Ngadjuri Contact First

The Ngadjuri Contact First video supports the Ngadjuri Nations Aboriginal Corporation by educating people about Ngadjuri People, their country and culturally appropriate protocols for when and how to engage with them. The video will help people understand what is expected of them when first contacting and meeting with the Ngadjuri community, and help build cultural competency and foster better relationships.

Fostering better relationships with the Ngadjuri community

Co-designing the Future Workshop

The spirit of respect and cooperation between parties was outstanding and a commitment from all was reached to continue to work together on reform into 2018. A process to progress issues was strongly supported by the attendees and their peak representative bodies.

We have a clear pathway forward towards regulatory and policy reform that will support better communication, capacity and partnering between native title groups and explorers, and the government is committed to continue its consultative approach to mining sector reform as a way of do-designing better solutions and policy outcomes.

On 17 and 18 October 2017, the South Australian Government’s Mineral Resources Division held an independently facilitated Workshop in Port Augusta for those parties who are actively involved in negotiating native title mining agreements under Part 9B of the Mining Act 1971.

The purpose of the Workshop was to work together to share ideas, expertise and wisdom, with a view to:

  • building further trust between government, native title groups and industry;
  • strengthening relationships based on understanding, respect and early engagement;
  • driving better collaboration between stakeholders; and
  • identifying co-designed solutions to the operation of the native title system for mineral exploration in South Australia.

The Workshop was the best opportunity stakeholders have had in over 21 years (since the introduction of the existing native title system) to consider the future of the native title system for mineral exploration in South Australia.

Over 80 representatives attended the Co-designing the Future Workshop to discuss and share their ideas and agree a path forward to progress possible reform. This was the largest ever meeting of Traditional Owners, mineral explorers, and peak bodies, to discuss the future of mineral exploration and native title in South Australia. Discussions sought improved trust and collaboration between mineral explorers and traditional owners, and identified how current processes could be streamlined and improved. The Workshop was the outcome of over two years of consultation undertaken in the lead up to the launch of the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures program.

Presentations given at the Workshop are available for download:

View the workshop presentations

Co-designing the Future Workshop ReportKey issues and outcomes - including Workshop Report

The key issues considered included cultural heritage management, early exploration, alternative native title schemes, early engagement, and further opportunities for collaboration and better communication between all parties.

There was broad support among Workshop participants to modernise and improve Part 9B, rather than adopt the Commonwealth 'right to negotiate' scheme in the Native Title Act 1993. However, it was recognised further work on the following key issues is needed to inform future action:

  • early engagement;
  • early exploration; and
  • cultural heritage management.

Download the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures Co-designing the Future Workshop Report (PDF 3.4 MB)

Issues Paper

Co-designing the Future WorkshopThe Issues Paper summarises the key matters raised through consultations with Traditional Owners and industry, and their legal representatives between 2014 and October 2017. This Issues Paper was prepared so everyone can see what has been said, identify concerns they have in common and consider where they would like to see change. These issues formed the basis of discussions at the Co-designing the Future Workshop and will continue to inform future discussions.

For more information contact:

Heidi Crow
Principal Policy Advisor (Aboriginal Heritage and Engagement)
Phone: (08) 8429 2561


Andrew Moll
Principal Policy Advisor (Native Title and Engagement)
Phone: (08) 8429 2504

Summary report - Results of consultation so far

Key observations from the consultation to August 2017 are presented in the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures Summary Report, August 2017 (PDF 3.5 MB).

This report has been prepared by our independent facilitator Ian Dixon as an overall summary on the review of the native title land access process to date and sets out some of the key observations emerging from discussions.

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SARIG training

Our South Australian Resources Information Gateway (SARIG) provides free, easy to access online information about mining and exploration across the estate. Knowing how to use SARIG means you can go on the internet and easily find out who is exploring or mining in your native title area.

You can use SARIG to find:

  • South Australian mining and petroleum projects
  • Geology, geophysics, regolith, paleodrainage, petroleum basins, groundwater and earthquakes
  • Mineral, petroleum and geothermal tenement boundaries
  • Exploration company details and commodity information
  • Infrastructure locations e.g. power stations, substations and transmission lines, water pipelines, roads and railway, ports and airports
  • Other government information e.g. about national parks, Native Title and property boundaries
  • Seismic lines and seismic horizon maps

Establishing the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures program

Part of what makes South Australia great is its great mineral resources. We want all South Australians to have the best social and economic opportunities that our rich mineral resources can provide.

Strong partnerships give the best results for everyone, and we know there is more work to be done to support Aboriginal communities, explorers and miners to work together to build better relationships based on collaboration and trust.

Because this is important to us, we have established the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures program to explore how we can all work together to forge better collaboration and maximise the long-term social and economic benefits that successful mining projects bring to communities.

Native title mining agreements

Part 9B of the Mining Act 1971 sets out procedures that must be followed before carrying out exploration or mining activities on native title land. Part 9B came into operation on 17 June 1996 and is an alternative to the ‘right to negotiate’ scheme in the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993.

Many native title mining agreements have been successfully negotiated since 1996, but the process still poses challenges for some. This includes valuing and preserving Aboriginal culture, engaging early and respectfully, determining when activities affect native title, and providing certainty about timeliness and costs.

Identifying solutions together

Our intention is that Aboriginal communities, explorers and Government work together to identify and make improvements to the operation of the native title system as it applies to mineral exploration. Building a shared vision about what the future might look like will provide the best possible outcomes for everyone.

We have consulted with explorers and native title lawyers to seek their views on the operation of Part 9B. We have also consulted with native title groups who work within the Part 9B system to see how the system is working, on the ground, for Aboriginal communities. This completed the first stage of the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures program.

How can I find more information on the program?