Before coming to this beautiful place called The South Island, I lived for 14 years in Victoria, Australia. In Victoria you can buy a permit to go fossicking. It costs AUD25.20 for 10 years. This gives you the right to go and pan or non powered sluice for the yellow stuff anywhere (with the landowners or permit holders permission).
Now some people might say that people would be digging up all the waterways and destroy the environment. I don’t think this would happen. We all know that people already illegally fossick in rivers and creeks. And yes, they do leave a mess behind. But hey, if you robbed a bank, would you hang around to clean up the broken glass and blood stains? If people have the option of doing the right thing, they would.
Also, if you were to sell your finds, you would have to show your fossicking permit and hence have to pay any royalties.
At the end of the day, it would open up more possibilities for us recreational gold diggers to find more gold, people wouldn’t trash rivers and the govt should still their cut.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, good or bad.