You’re welcome to come here and fossick: council

HUNTING FOR GOLD: NSW and ACT Prospectors and Fossickers Association member Doug Spindler. Photo: BEGA VALLEY NEWS
HUNTING FOR GOLD: NSW and ACT Prospectors and Fossickers Association member Doug Spindler. Photo: BEGA VALLEY NEWS

Tourism in the local government area is expected to be boosted if it is declared a fossicking district.

Dubbo Regional Council is considering gazetting the local government area as a fossicking region. Fossickers would still have to get permission from landholders to access their land but they would not need approval from the holder of a mineral or petroleum exploration licence. It would also take the liability off the exploration licence holders.

Fossicking is the small scale search and collection of minerals and gemstones with hand held implements. Under a fossicking permit electrical or mechanical equipment is not permitted.

Mayor Ben Shields said it was a real opportunity to attract interest in the region from a niche tourism market. He said he wanted to get the Dubbo region on the fossicking map.

“It’s been brought to my attention that particularly areas like Stuart Town are going to benefit considerably when it comes to the fossicking industry,” Cr Shields said.

“This is a great way we can make sure this little niche industry, this little niche market when it comes to tourism in particular, flourishes and grows.”

Gold, common opal, chalcedony, agate and fossils have all been found in Dubbo. In Wellington there have been deposits of gold, common opal, carnelian, agate, tektites and fossils.

Councillor Stephen Lawrence has also expressed his support for the idea.

“I did a little bit of research on this issue and saw an article from last year that said 11 per cent of the state has had a deceleration of this nature made in respect of it,” Cr Lawrence said.

“The fossicking industry is a small industry but a significant one in regional NSW. Given the history of mining in certain parts of our LGA one can certainly imagine great opportunities in the tourism market and I think it’s a golden opportunity for the region.”

The proposal to make the region a fossicking district came from the NSW and ACT Prospectors and Fossickers Association.

The group says balance needs to be restored between environmental conservation and a healthy, outdoor activity that can draw people to small towns. It has urged more towns to considering putting on a 'fossicker-friendly face'.

The proposal to make the region a fossicking district will go on public exhibition for 28 days before a report is prepared for council and a decision made.