Managing disputes about mineral titles

Disputes which arise during exploration and mining activities, or following a decision on a title application, should be resolved by mediation.

Where agreement can't be reached through mediation, disputes can be referred to the Northern Territory Civil and Administration Tribunal (NTCAT).

There are three types of issues the tribunal can be asked to review or make a decision about.

Mineral title decisions

The Mineral Titles Act allows for all of the following decisions to be appealed to the tribunal:

  • refusal of a mineral title application
  • refusal of an application to transfer a title
  • a decision to allow a mineral title to be converted to another type of title, but only the type of title it is to be converted to can be appealed
  • a decision to convert an existing non-compliant interest to a mineral title, but only the type of title it is to be converted to can be appealed.


The tribunal can be asked to make a decision on  the following matters:

  • appointment of a mediator to assist with reaching agreement on compensation issues
  • a claim for compensation, if the parties can't agree.

Land access and other issues

A person can apply to the tribunal for a decision about a dispute relating to preliminary exploration, a mineral title, a title area, a proposed title area, or fossicking.

Areas of dispute include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

  • the area, dimensions and boundaries of the land being surveyed
  • entry onto land to conduct preliminary exploration, fossicking, or authorised activities under a mineral title - or to construct, maintain and use infrastructure under an access authority.

How to apply

Applications to NTCAT should be made using the tribunal's Form 3 Ordinary Application, along with the required fee.

The form and information about fees can be obtained from the NTCAT website.

Tribunal decisions

The tribunal will make either a decision or a recommendation, depending on what has been referred.

For issues about the granting of a title, the tribunal makes a recommendation to the department. The department does not have to follow the recommendation.

For other applications the tribunal makes a decision that everyone must abide by.

Last updated: 03 May 2016

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