Getting a Claim – permit to prospect, explore or mine Gold

Gold is classed as a “statutory mineral” under the Crown Minerals Act 1991. What this means is that no matter what the Crown owns all Gold in New Zealand and a permit is needed to prospect, explore or mine. To obtain a permit an application must be made.

NZPAM have implemented a new online permitting system which replaces the old permit management system.

The NZP&M Online Permitting System enables permit applicants to apply for permits online, for permit holders to manage permit changes online as well as access more information regarding permit obligations and compliance.

Specific information regarding what needs to be submitted can be found through the above link. The below outlines roughly what this is:

  • Correct fee (refer below)
  • Applicant details; including previous experience and financial details.
  • A plan clearly defining the area being applied for (a cadastral plan showing legal boundaries is preferred; however a topographical plan or aerial survey may be used).
  • A work programme which clearly sets out all of the work intended to be undertaken during the duration of the permit. The work programme also should include an estimate of expenditure.
  • Specific information regarding what needs to be submitted for each of the above sections can be found on the form itself – which serves as both Form and Information Sheet.

Prospecting – To identify land likely to contain exploitable deposits.
Application for Prospecting Permit – $3450.00

Exploration – To identify deposits and evaluate the feasibility of mining.
Application for Exploration Permit – $3,450.00

Mining – Economic recovery of an identified resource.
Application for Mining Permit Tier 2 – $5,750.00
One may choose to skip first two procedures and apply for mining (recommended for small scale mining/dredging operations).

Application for Mining Permit Tier 1 – $16,675.00 (bigger operations)

All fees are in $NZD and include GST (Goods and Services Tax).

For a map of current claims visit:

However, to make gold panning a more accessible experience, sixteen areas have been set aside in the South Island where anyone can freely enjoy recreational gold mining without the need for a mining permit. These areas are called gold fossicking areas and have been designated under the Crown Minerals Act 1991. Fossicking generally means searching for and collecting materials from surface of land or by digging by hand.

You can view all of the areas on, simply select “Gold Fossicking Area” from the Permit filters Type (top left hand corner).