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Fossicking rules and responsibilities

Personal protection and safety

Stay safe while fossicking by observing the following principles.

Personal protection

  • Wear suitable clothing for the conditions, including a hat and sturdy footwear (shoes or boots).
  • Apply sun protection and wear sunglasses.
  • Use an insect repellent when appropriate.
  • Wear gloves when digging and sieving to avoid wear and tear to the hands.
  • Wear rubber boots if working in water for long periods.
  • Wear proper eye protection (safety goggles/glasses) whenever breaking rocks.
  • Carry a well-stocked first-aid kit.

Before leaving home

  • Check all equipment, including tools and camping gear, to ensure that it is in working order and safe to use.
  • Check your vehicle to ensure that it is in proper working condition and that adequate supplies of food, water, fuel and spares are on board.
  • Advise someone of your plans (including when you expect to return) and contact numbers.
  • Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closure and conditions.
  • Check the current bushfire situation.
  • Check weather forecasts and road conditions.
  • Carry a mobile phone or other suitable communication equipment to maintain contact or to get help.
  • Avoid going out alone.

When fossicking

  • Be careful when digging around large boulders because they may roll or move suddenly, causing severe injury.
  • Never burrow into or undermine a stream bank or earth face or work under overhanging rocks or earth faces.
  • Never dig holes deeper than the permitted depth.
  • Use existing roads and tracks only and avoid cross-country driving.
  • Beware of noxious weeds such as parthenium that can cause serious allergic reactions.
  • When visiting old mining areas beware of open shafts and avoid getting too close, as the surrounding ground may be unstable. Never enter old underground workings.
  • Be careful when fossicking on mine dumps, as much of the material is loose and may move without warning.
  • Never set a fire to clear grass or undergrowth.
  • Don’t carry or use firearms or explosives.
  • For the safety of others, make safe and refill any excavations before leaving, remove rubbish and bury human waste.

When camping

  • Position your camp site well away from any stock watering points.
  • Be careful with fire—use gas for cooking or set camp fires in a proper fireplace with a cleared space around it.

In an emergency

  • Dial 000 from a telephone or 112 from your mobile phone.


Contact one of our mining offices for any fossicking enquiry.

Fossicking rules and licences

A fossicking licence is required in Queensland. Make sure you follow the fossicking rules and observe the basic principles of safe fossicking.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last reviewed
17 August 2016
Last updated
5 May 2014
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