The state government is piloting a tool in the Wimmera to arm landholders with knowledge for when they need to negotiate with mining exploration companies.
It comes as mapping for precious minerals has begun east of Kanagulk and Balmoral, with sampling and rock testing to take place in coming months.
On March 18, the state government regulator awarded the first of potentially six new Mineral Exploration Licences to P.S and G.F Forwood, which proposed to explore for copper and gold in block 11 of the Stavely Arc.
The block takes in Cavendish, East West Road and parts of the Henty Highway and Rocklands Road.
The arc is a collection of 11 blocks spanning from the Grampians up to Jeparit, which the government ran an open tender for in 2018.
Annie Farrow, manager of stakeholder and community engagement at the state government's Minerals Development Victoria, said the Land Access Consent Tool was aimed at starting conversations.
"It's a template contract between landholders and exploration companies when they have that first conversation about exploration on their private property, which both can modify to suit their specific requirements," she said.
"A company will be granted a licence that entitles them to undertake exploration activity, but they still require the consent of a private property landowner to enter their land. The consent can be verbal when the explorer plans to do low-impact works, but generally we suggest they make written agreements.
"These agreements can cover the time of day the explorer will access the property, which gate they will use, when there needs to be advanced notice if there is lambing going on and adhering to the farmer's biosecurity protocols.
"The level of compensation for loss of income also needs to be negotiated between the farmers and the company. In our supporting materials, we also have a clause which suggests the exploration company makes a contribution to pay for any legal advice farmers seek over their rights, and I think the company exploring in Block 11 expects that."
Ms Farrow said Minerals Development Victoria would hold an information session on the tool in Balmoral on June 18 for landholders and another for lawyers, accountants and agricultural consultants at Horsham RSL on June 13.
Ian Ross, president of the Kanagulk Landcare Group which has been critical of mining practices in the region over the past few years, said the tool was a step in the right direction.
"It will empower farmers to make wiser decisions," he said.
"I would also recommend landholders talk to KLG and other communities that have experienced mining company activity, because mining companies historically don't understand rural people."
In 2015, the group called for a state government inquiry into Iluka Resources' management of its Douglas mine site, where it deposited low-level radioactive waste.
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