Fossicking districts have been expanded across NSW to support regional economies.
Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Bland Shire and Snowy Valleys Councils have been declared fossicking districts, taking the total number of districts to 63 across 28 local government areas.
Fossicking districts now cover more than 9.3 million hectares, or 11.6 per cent of NSW.
The NSW & ACT Prospectors and Fossickers Association estimates around 50,000 people fossick for gems and minerals across NSW each year, which contributes approximately $20 million to NSW rural economies annually.
Fossicking can be carried out on any land in NSW where it is deemed lawful, provided participants obtain permission from landowners and key stakeholders of the land.
Fossicking remains prohibited in NSW National Parks.
Minister for Resources Don Harwin said fossicking was a popular and rewarding recreational activity.
“Fossicking has a positive impact on regional tourism and NSW regional economies,” Mr Harwin said.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, said his region’s rich history can now be explored in a different way.
“Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shires were part of the 1850s gold rush, now visitors and locals can get a real feel for that history,” Mr Constance said.