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South Australia's opal fields supply an estimated 80% of total world opal production

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Before mining for opals in South Australia you must:

  • hold a current Precious Stones Prospecting Permit
  • pay a fee when applying for the permit and for the registration of claims and other relevant documents.
    Fees from 1 July 2018
How to obtain a permit and the basic requirements to prospect and mine for opal are outlined in:

Opal fields in South Australia

Opal field (year discovered)Permit requiredAreaLocationInformation for tourists
Proclaimed precious stones fields263 km2Surrounds the town of Andamooka, approx. 35 km east of Roxby Downs, approximately 250 km north of Port Augusta via WoomeraAccomodation available in Andamooka and Roxby Downs
Coober Pedy
Proclaimed precious stones fields4954 km2On the Stuart Highway 550 km north of Port AugustaCoober Pedy is a modern town with all amenities and tourist facilities
Mintabie endorsed proclaimed precious stones fields
Permit to travel to Mintabie township
213 km2On the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankuntjatjara (APY) Lands 32 km west of MarlaAccess to Mintabie is restricted
What you need to know about mining or residing in Mintabie
Stuart Creek
Proclaimed precious stones fields25 km2Approximately 58 km north of AndamookaOnly recommended for experienced opal miners and bush travellers - a remote waterless area without any significant shade trees, need a 4WD vehicle for access
Lambina and Welbourn Hill pastoral stationsNo opal mining is permitted without a valid Native Title Mining Agreement-Six negotiated diggings over the two pastoral stationsIt is not recommended that tourists travel to Lambina and Welbourn Hill


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Legislation and regulation of opal mining

Approval for opal mining and prospecting in South Australia is regulated by the:

The laws for opal mining apply throughout the state, but there are special provisions within the Act that apply to the proclaimed precious stones fields.

The Department for Energy and Mining, Opal Fields Program is responsible for:

  • tenement administration, regulation and physical inspection of all opal fields in South Australia
  • the development of the Opal Mining Industry through government initiatives, driving best practice and workplace safety with support from SafeWork SA programs.

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For more information, contact:

Ashley Wood
Manager Opal Fields Program
Phone: +61 (8) 8672 5800

Jacqueline Boland
Acting Senior Deputy Opal Mining Registrar
Phone: +61 8 8672 5800
Opal miners can obtain information and application forms from:

Andamooka Post Office
9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday, closed on public holidays

Mintabie Post Office
9.00 am to 1.00 pm Monday to Friday, closed on public holidays