Mines and Petroleum Minister Sean L'Estrange was in Kalgoorlie-Boulder today to launch the annual Seven Golden Rules for Prospecting campaign.
Mr L'Estrange said the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) had issued more than 17,000 Miner's Rights prospecting permits in Western Australia in the past five years.
"The issuing of more than 17,000 permits shows the growing popularity of gold prospecting in the State, however safety should always be a prospector's number one priority," he said.
"WA's outback can be a harsh, remote environment, which is why personal safety is such an important consideration when prospecting."
Mr L'Estrange urged all prospectors to carry Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) when in remote areas.
"PLBs are the best way of avoiding what can be a tragic outcome of getting lost in the Goldfields and the outback. If you're not carrying a beacon, you're not taking enough responsibility for your life," he said.
"Four years ago, a month-long search ended in tragedy and sparked the push for PLBs. In contrast, a search conducted last year found the missing person just four hours after his device began sending out signals."
The device, which can be purchased from most outdoor stores, is ideal for use in remote areas as it does not rely on telecommunication networks to submit a signal.
Deputy Premier and Police Minister Liza Harvey said of the land searches conducted in WA in 2015, there were six for missing prospectors.
"The land searches included four in the Goldfields-Esperance District and two in the Mid West-Gascoyne District," Mrs Harvey said.
"We have had tragic outcomes in the past after people have become lost. The choice to carry a beacon should be an easy one for prospectors."
The Seven Golden Rules for prospecting are:
- Obtain a Miner's Right permit - when prospecting on vacant Crown land
- Put safety first - your safety is your responsibility
- Obtain a 40E permit - prior to prospecting on an exploration tenement
- Get written permission - if you want to prospect on someone else's mining tenement
- Comply with all legal requirements - when prospecting on a pastoral lease
- Show respect when on Crown land - because it is used by other people or set aside for many purposes
- Fill any holes - repair any ground disturbances that you make.
Searches for missing prospectors average 11.3 hours but many last one or two days
Aircraft searches cost up to $5,000 per hour
The coroner recommended carrying PLBs after the 2012 death of Michael Graham
During the past five years, DMP has issued more than 17,000 Miner's Rights
A Miner's Right is the most common prospecting permit used by tourists visiting WA and allows holders to prospect on Crown land with handheld tools, such as a metal detector, and to take and keep samples or specimens up to 20 kilograms
The Seven Golden Rules campaign will see DMP offices, tourist bureaus, libraries and caravan parks targeted with posters, brochures and booklets
Mines and Petroleum Minister's office - 6552 6900
Deputy Premier and Police Minister's office - 6552 5900