The Prospecting Board was established on 12 July 1887, and consisted of the Under Secretary for Mines, the Geological Surveyor, and the Inspector of Mines. The Minister for Mines was given the authority to appoint any other person a member of the Board in addition to or in substitution for any of the officers. It was recommended that a sum of 15,000 pounds be set aside for the encouragement of prospecting, to be referred to as the Prospecting Vote. The Board was authorised to inspect sites proposed for prospecting by miners and to estimate the cost of any work required, with a sum not exceeding 50% of the estimated costs to be provided. (1)
In 1888 the Prospecting Board considered applications to subsidise the search for gold and mineral deposits, with 133 cases approved, and 125 refused. Members of the Board visited several localities, in many cases the works aided were not sufficiently advanced to indicate what the results might be, while in others the works had been completed without making any discovery. In some cases the works subsidised had proved of indirect benefit by returning the mining industry to localities which had been abandoned. (2)
The Prospecting Board provided funds appropriated out of public revenue, and referred to as the Prospecting Vote. The funds were used for the promotion of prospecting for gold and other minerals, to encourage the opening of new fields, and to test the mineral deposits in the State, with assistance allotted to prospectors for approved work on sites holding a mining title. (3)
(1) Votes and Proceedings 1887, Second Session, Vol 4, Prospecting for Gold and Other Minerals (Regulations for Distribution of Vote For), printed 12 July 1887, p.509.
(2) Votes and Proceedings 1889, Vol 4, Annual Report of the Department of Mines for the year 1888, pp.306-307.
(3) Parliamentary Papers 1929-30, Vol 3, Annual Report of the Department of Mines for the year 1929, p.207.