NSW uncovers illegal sapphire mining

The New South Wales Resources Regulator and police have reported illegal mining activities on Rickey’s Lane, Sapphire near Inverell.

Upon entering the property, the inspectors found two people operating a large excavator and a dump truck in the vicinity of Frazers Creek.

They also located three buckets of washed rock containing blue stones that were believed to be sapphires in the rear of a vehicle located on site.

The inspectors also seized more stones that were believed to contain sapphires, found in a trommel where earth and material were being processed.

“Sapphire is a scheduled mineral under the Mining Regulations 2016,” the regulator stated.

“It is illegal to mine for a scheduled mineral without a mining authorisation (section five of the Mining Act 1992).

“… Illegal mining can cause significant harm to the environment and damage sensitive ecosystems.”

The inspectors are investigating the case and carrying out further examination of the stones.

The maximum penalty for an offence of unauthorised mining is $1.1 million for a corporation, and $220,000 and/or five year’s imprisonment for an individual.