LRMA Newsletter – 21 May 2018


The 9 th National Opal Symposium will be held at the Lightning Ridge & District Bowling Club from 22-24 July 2018 and now is the time to register to attend. The LRMA has a brilliant program planned and it encourages its members to attend. In previous years many miners were sorry they missed it. 

The program and other interesting information is on the website and a registration form is attached. The website is being constantly updated as new information comes to hand.

Following is an invitation from LRMA President, Sebastian Deisenberger.

Welcome to Lightning Ridge and the 9th National Opal Symposium. It is with great pleasure the Lightning Ridge Miners’ Association Ltd (LRMA) hosts the Symposium for the fourth time and it is most gratifying the Symposium has continued to bring together miners, government and academics from all over Australia and beyond since its humble beginnings in 1999.

“Opal in a Changing World” is the theme for this year’s Symposium and will be a focus for many of the presentations. The LRMA has introduced geology and mechanical forums to the Symposium along with a marketing workshop to discuss how the industry can promote Australian opal in the changing world.

We trust you will enjoy this year’s program. Monday 23 July 2018 will kick off with reports from industry, government and the Australian Opal Centre and include updates on the latest geological and palaeontological research. There are a number of geological oddities found underground and on the mining fields that are difficult to explain and Monday will finish off with an interactive forum where participants can quiz a panel of geologists on “why is it so?”. Tuesday 24 July 2018 will feature exciting additions to the Australian Opal Centre's public collection and some fascinating marketing presentations including on-line marketing and tourism in opal mining communities. One of the sessions will feature the opal nomenclature and what revisions are required to bring it up to date.

This should promote some lively debate. The afternoon will commence with a marketing workshop titled “Australian opal, the finest in the world – promoting the image”.

The Symposium will finish with a forum titled “The machinery of mining – reducing the costs of production” where miners can quiz each other on the most effective methods of extracting the most spectacular opal in the world.

We are grateful to the Australian Opal Centre for hosting the meet and greet on Sunday evening at the Black Opal Heritage Shed at the 3 Mile on 22 July 2018. Delegates will be
able to peruse the fantastic panels detailing the history of mining machinery innovations and see a fabulous cinematic presentation of colour and pattern opal by Robert A. Smith.

We are very excited to be able to hold our Symposium dinner at the Serbian Hall on Monday evening with a two course meal by Relish Catering and music by Kelly Pickering.

There will also be an optional buddy day offered to delegates who wish to visit the opal fields and learn the ropes with an experienced miner on the morning of Wednesday 25 July 2018.

Enjoy and celebrate opal, our National Gemstone.

Thank you very much to our sponsors who make it possible for the LRMA to host the 9 th National Opal Symposium. 

  • Gold Sponsors – Walgett Shire Council, Imparja Television and NSW Government, Division of Resources & Geoscience.
  • Silver Sponsors – Black Opal Direct, Australian Opal Centre, Austgems Pty Ltd, Lomax Opals Pty Ltd and Deisenberger Mining Pty Ltd.

The cost for a full symposium ticket which includes lunches, morning and afternoon teas and the Symposium dinner (drinks not included) is $240 per person. A day registration, including lunch and morning and afternoon tea is $120 per person and a dinner ticket is $85 per person (drinks not included).


If you would like to become a sponsor of the 9 th National Opal Symposium please contact the LRMA office for a full list of all the benefits associated with supporting this fantastic event.

There are three tiers of sponsorship available – Gold $3,000; Silver $600 and Bronze $250.

Benefits include acknowledgement on promotional material, the website, at the Symposium itself and the opportunity to include material in the symposium satchel. Depending upon the level of sponsorship, tickets to the Symposium and dinner plus a free display area may be included.


The LRMA office has membership cards ready for the 2018/19 financial year and members can renew next year’s membership at any time. The LRMA currently has over 870 members which is brilliant and only around 7% of members did not renew from last financial year which is exceptional.

Please note that all members who are part of the LRMA Security Bond Scheme must be financial members of the LRMA.

Over the past year the LRMA office has spent many, many days and several hundred phone calls chasing up members who have forgotten or neglected to renew their membership. This has taken away valuable time best spent on other matters much more beneficial to members.

The LRMA will not be chasing members to renew in the future. Members will be mailed an invoice/statement in July and given a couple of either written or verbal reminders. If members in the bond scheme still fail to renew their membership the Division of Resources & Geoscience will be informed they are no longer part of the LRMA bond scheme and the Division will require the full security bond amount of $700 per mineral claim to be lodged directly with them.


The LRMA office receives numerous requests to grade mining access tracks every time it rains. The LRMA however must follow a process prior to accessing funds from the miners levy to grade the main access tracks for opal mining. Once it has rained it is more often than not too late to gain the appropriate approvals before the moisture has evaporated. 

The LRMA must submit before photos of the track in question and a quote to the Division of Resources & Energy and then wait for approval to spend the levy. Once there is sufficient  moisture and the work is complete an after photo must be taken and submitted along with an invoice for payment. 

Miners who need their access track graded need to take some photos of the track in question and advise the LRMA well in advance of predicted rain or at any time so that approvals are in place. Please note the LRMA only uses the miners levy to maintain the main access tracks that service a good number of mineral claims. The LRMA does not use the levy to grade tracks to western lands leases. The LRMA grader is for hire should western lands leaseholders want tracks to their camps graded and is happy to give anyone a quote. 


The Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Amendment Regulation 2018 took effect on 13 April 2018. The main amendment that will effect opal miners is the requirement for an opal mine operator to complete a course of training relating to health and safety at opal mines every five years. Current operators of an opal mine have until 13 April 2023 to undertake the refresher. 

The LRMA lobbied unsuccessfully against this amendment as we believe opal miners are constantly updating their skills and improving safety whilst on the job.


The NSW Department of Primary Industries is interested in your experiences and views on Hudson Pear. To take part in a quick survey follow the link.


The following have applied for membership of the LRMA. If any member has an objection to any of these membership applications please contact the LRMA office and your objection will be treated with the strictest of confidence.

Now is the perfect time to join the LRMA as the months of May and June are free and your membership will be valid until June 2019.

  • Christine Williamson Proposer: Jean Rutledge Seconder: Preston Doherty
  • Gregory D Smith Proposer: Jean Rutledge Seconder: Preston Doherty
  • Thomas Alchin Proposer: Mark Teece Seconder: Mitchell McCabe
  • Maclayne Hart Proposer: Marke Teece Seconder: Mitch McCabe
  • David Sullivan Proposer: Maxine O’Brien Seconder: Anthony O’Rourke
  • Cornalia McFarlane Proposer: Gavan McFarlane Seconder: Michael Jerry
  • Carol Griffiths Proposer: Craig Rice Seconder: Norman Masters
  • Mark Hunter Proposer: Mark Blanch Seconder: Andrew Cini
  • Patrick Cross Proposer: Paul Langley Seconder: Rod Single
  • Todd Andrews Proposer: Gary Stone Seconder: Claude Stone
  • Justin Morghem Proposer: Gary Stone Seconder: Claude Stone
  • Jody Lawrie Proposer: Robert Dean Seconder: Charles Carpenter
  • Scott Phipps Proposer: Andrew Breuer Seconder: Marty Maxwell
  • Miodrag Backovic Proposer: Donald Jenner Seconder: Drago Panich
  • Paul Farrell Proposer: Bruce Brown Seconder: Jason Stone

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