Digging deep for treasures, including sapphires, gold, opal, topaz or petrified wood, is shaping as a golden idea for Queensland families this festive season.
Minister for Natural Resources Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said fossicking was a popular activity throughout Queensland, with more than 8300 licences issued this year.
“There are a number of areas around south-east Queensland that provide fossickers with the chance to strike it lucky,’’ Dr Lynham said.
“Whether fossickers are looking for gold near Gympie, topaz at Swipers Gully (southwest of Stanthorpe), petrified wood near Chinchilla, Durikai and Talgai State Forests (west of Warwick), local mining officers are regularly on site to ensure activities are happening safely and that people are following the rules.
“The first step to fossicking in Queensland is jumping online to purchase a licence and with a month-long licence costing $11.95 for a family or $8.30 for an individual, it is certainly an affordable activity,” Dr Lynham said.
“Equipment like picks, shovels, hammers, sieves, shakers and electronic detectors can be used – just remember to fill in holes to ensure the safety of fellow fossickers.
“Treasure hunters also need to bring lots of water and wear long pants to protect against snakes. ‘’
Dr Lynham also reminded fossickers that possible finds such as meteorites fragments or fossils of vertebrate animals are not allowed to be fossicked.
“We want to see fossickers strike it lucky and while they may want to keep their treasure it also is legal for treasure hunters to occasionally sell a gemstone or trade to hobbyists through fairs and exhibitions.
“But if this becomes a regular practice, a production tenure, such as a mining claim, is required.
“Anyone is in interested in a production tenure, such as a mining claim, the application process is also available online from the Queensland Government.’’
Information on how to obtain a fossicking licence online as well as maps and rules for these fossicking areas can be found at www.qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/fossicking/licences-permits.